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Grace 

Theological 

Journal 



Volume 3 No 1 Spring 1982 




Grace Theological Journal 



Published Semiannually by 

Grace Theological Seminary 

Winona Lake, IN 46590 



Editorial Board 



Homer A. 

President 



Kent, Jr. 



John J. Davis 

Vice-President 



William Male 
Dean 



Editorial Committee 
John C. Whitcomb 

Editor 



D. Wayne Knife 

Associate Editor, 
Old Testament 



Charles R. Smith 

Associate Editor, 
Theology 



John A. Sproule 

Associate Editor, 

New Testament 



Production Committee 



James Eisenbraun 
Managing Editor 



Donald L. Fowler 

Book Review Editor 



Weston W. Fields 

Circulation 



Grace Theological Journal is published twice annually. Subscription rates are $7.50/ one 
year, $13.00/two years, $18.00/three years in the United States; foreign rates: $8.75/one 
year, $15.50/two years, $21.50/three years, payable in U.S. funds. 

Manuscripts for consideration should be sent to Grace Theological Journal, Box 318, 
Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590. All articles should be type- 
written, double-spaced, on one side of the page only, and should conform to the 
requirements of the Journal of Biblical Literature style sheet; see JBL 95 (1976) 331-46. 
One exception should be noted, namely, that GTJ prefers the use of the original scripts 
for Greek and Hebrew, in contradistinction to JBL. 

Inquiries concerning subscriptions should be addressed to Grace Theological Journal, 
Box 373, Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590. 

ISSN 0I98-666X. Copyright © 1982 Grace Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. 



COMPOSITION BV EISENBRAUNS, WINONA LAKE, IN 46590 
PRINTING BY EDWARDS BROTHERS, ANN ARBOR, Ml 48104 



GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Volume 3 No 1 Spring 1982 

Contents 



The Great Tribulation: 3-18 

Kept "Out Of or "Through"? 

DAVID G. WINFREY 

Robert H. Gundry and Revelation 3:10 19-49 

THOMAS R. EDGAR 

The Sheep Merchants of Zechariah 11 51-65 

THOMAS J. FINLEY 

The Eschatology of the Warning Passages 67-80 

in the Book of Hebrews 

STANLEY D. TOUSSAINT 

Second Class Conditions in New Testament Greek . . 81-88 

JAMES L. BOYER 

The Ethics of Inflation: A Biblical Critique 89-105 

of the Causes and Consequences 

WILLIAM J. LARKIN, JR. 

Palestinian Archaeology and the Date 107-121 

of the Conquest: Do Tells Tell Tales? 

EUGENE H. MERRILL 

Review Articles 
Earth's Pre- Flood Vapor Canopy 123-132 

JOHN C. WHITCOMB AND DONALD B. DEYOUNG 

The Fundamentalist Phenomenon 133-137 

CHARLES R. SMITH 

Book Reviews 138-152 

Books Received 153-160 



CONTRIBUTORS 



James L. Boyer 

855 Texas St., Englewood, FL 33533 

Donald B. DeYoung 

Grace College, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Thomas R. Edgar 

Capital Bible Seminary, 6511 Princess Garden Parkway, 
Lanham, MD 20801 

Thomas J. Finley 

Talbot Theological Seminary, 13800 Biola Avenue, 
La Mirada, CA 90639 

William J. Larkin, jr. 

Columbia Graduate School, Columbia, SC 29230 

Eugene H. Merrill 

Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 

Charles R. Smith 

Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Stanley D. Toussaint 

Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 

John C. Whitcomb 

Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

David G. Winfrey 

18830 NW 7th Avenue, Miami, FL 33169 



THE GREAT TRIBULATION: 
KEPT "OUT OF" OR "THROUGH"? 

David G. Winfrey 



The debate over whether or not the church will enter the great 
tribulation is focused on a single critical phrase in the Greek text. The 
question is: does zrjpeco etc ("keep from, " KJV) in Rev 3:10 necessarily 
imply that the church will be kept out of the great tribulation, or does 
it allow for the church to go through the great tribulation? As the end 
time fast approaches, it is imperative for the church to settle this 
issue. Is the Lord's coming for his church imminent, or will the 
church soon enter into a period of unprecedented Satanic persecu- 
tion. In answer to this question, four points are considered: (1) Robert 
Gundry's use of John 17:15 as an interpretive guide for Rev 3:10; (2) 
three antithetical expressions which support the pretribulational view; 
(3) four complications to Gundry's posttribulational view; and, (4) an 
analogy illustrating the difference between the phrases "keep out of" 
and "deliver out of. " 



INTRODUCTION 

In the course of the history of the Church, controversies often 
crystalized around particular phrases and words. When the deity 
of Christ was challenged in the fourth century, the issue was brought 
into sharp focus in two Greek words: 6uoouaio<; and ouoiouaio*;. At 
the Council of Nicea, Christ was declared to be ouoouaux; (of the 
same substance) with the Father rather than 6uoiouoio<; (of a similar 
substance) with the Father, as the Arians taught. As can be seen, the 
only difference between these two words is the letter iota. To some it 
may seem ludicrous to argue over such a "trivial" point. However, 
although a mere letter distinguished these two Greek words, the 
matter was by no means insignificant. Whether Christ was co-eternal, 
co-equal, and co -substantial with the Father or a mere creature, even 
though of the highest order, was the issue at stake. 

Today one of the important issues facing the church is in the 
area of eschatology. In the nineteenth century, the early premillennial 



4 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

teaching of the church was rediscovered. Under the leadership of 
J. N. Darby, the brethren movement (Plymouth Brethren) of the 
1830s developed a new and startling variation of premillennialism. 
Whereas those who are now called "historical premillennialists" taught 
that Christ's second coming would occur at the end of the great 
tribulation, these "dispensationalists" taught that God had two sepa- 
rate programs: one for Israel and another for the predominantly 
gentile church. They taught that Christ's second coming to establish 
his earthly reign would be preceded by an earlier coming for his 
church. By being raptured away before the great tribulation, the 
church would escape the terrible plagues and persecutions depicted in 
the Apocalypse of Saint John. These two distinct forms of premillen- 
nialism are labeled "pretribulationism" and "posttribulationism." Pre- 
tribulationists teach that the church will be kept out of the great 
tribulation. Posttribulationists, on the other hand, teach that the 
church must enter this horrible period of persecution and suffer at the 
hands of the Antichrist. Only after the church has passed through this 
period will she be caught up to meet the Lord and accompany him in 
triumph at his second advent. 

Posttribulationists have of late put forward telling arguments 
against several features of the pretribulational scheme. Many of these 
points were popularized in 1898 by W. E. Blackstone's Jesus is 
Coming} Although several of the texts used to support the pretribu- 
lational view have been abandoned by pretribulationists, Rev 3:10 has 
remained the primary defense of the position. Until recently, it has 
withstood every argument the posttribulationists have marshaled 
against it. However, with the publication of Robert Gundry's The 
Church and the Tribulation in 1973, it has once again come under 
siege. 2 

Gundry's provocative book has caused many pretribulationists to 
reexamine their position on this issue. Will Christ come for his 
church before the great tribulation (pretribulationism), or will he 
come after the church has entered this time of unparalleled suffering 
(posttribulationism)? Perhaps the impact of Gundry's book can be 
measured best by the response it has received from the champions of 
the pretribulational view. Gundry's treatment of the issue has been 
reviewed by Charles C. Ryrie in Bibliotheca Sacra. 3 In a series of 
articles in the same journal, John F. Walvoord, president of Dallas 



W. E. Blackstone, Jesus is Coming (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1898). 

'Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1973). 

3 Charles C. Ryrie, "The Church and the Tribulation: A Review," BSac 131 
(1974) 173-79. 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 5 

Theological Seminary, has examined Gundry's dispensational post- 
tribulationism at length. 4 However, whereas Gundry deals with Rev 
3:10 extensively in developing his arguments for a posttribulational 
rapture, 5 Walvoord's rebuttal is rather brief, little more than a page in 
length. 6 

The most recent article in Bibliotheca Sacra examining Gundry's 
treatment of Rev 3:10 is written by Jeffrey L. Townsend. 7 In it he 
traces the usage of the preposition ek from the classical period to that 
of the NT and demonstrates that in addition to the primary meaning 
of "out from within," £K was also capable of bearing another meaning, 
i.e., "a position outside its object with no thought of prior existence 
within the object or of emergence from the object.'* 

If there is a "proof text" for the pretribulational position, it is 
Rev 3:10. Perhaps this is why Gundry deals with it at such length. 
Unfortunately, many pretribulationists now consider Rev 3:10 inde- 
cisive. It has become a sort of "no-man's-land" in the ongoing debate 
between both camps. This, in the author's opinion, is a serious 
mistake. Gundry's rebuttal of the pretribulational position on Revela- 
tion must be met head-on. It will not be repelled unless each 
argument is met by convincing counterarguments. 



Rev 3:10 (RSV) 

Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep 
you from [Triprjaco £k] the hour of trial which is coming on the whole 
world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. 

John 17:15 (RSV) 

I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but 
that thou shouldst keep them from [iripriarn; . . . £k] the evil one. 

A FAIR ASSUMPTION 

Robert Gundry's treatment of the phrase "keep out of" found in 
these passages is based on the fair assumption that if the phrase has 



"John F. Walvoord, "Posttribulationism Today," BSac 132 (1975) 16-24. The 
series runs through BSac 134 (1977) 299-313. These articles have been published in 
book form. See John F. Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1976). 

Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 54-61. 

6 Walvoord, The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation, 137-38. 

'Jeffrey L. Townsend, "The Rapture in Revelation 3:10," BSac 137 (1980) 252-66. 

8 Ibid., 254. 



6 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the implication of "previous existence within" in one passage, it most 
likely also has the same implication in the other. 9 The question to be 
considered is whether "keep out of" (xr|pe(o 8k) implies "previous 
existence within" in John 17:15. If it does, then it is reasonable to 
assume that the same implication would be found in Rev 3:10, for 
these are the only two occurrences of xripeo) 8K in the NT. And if 
TT|peco 8K implies "previous existence within" in Rev 3:10, then, rather 
than this passage being a proof text for pretribulationism, it would 
suggest that the church will be in the great tribulation which is here 
referred to as the "hour of testing." Accordingly, Rev 3:10 would then 
be interpreted as a promise to keep or guard the church in the great 
tribulation so that she may emerge victorious at the end. 

OBJECTIVE 

The author's objective is to demonstrate that Tripeco 8K implies 
previous existence outside the specified sphere in both passages. In 
seeking to demonstrate that the phrase does not imply previous 
existence within in John 17:15, the following terms and phrases which 
are diametrically opposed to each other will be examined: (1) TT|pea) 
ek and Tripeo) ev; (2) 8K tou 7iovr|po0 and ev T(5 ttovt|p<3; and (3) ev 
t<3 ovouaii and ev t<5 novripw. After these considerations, four 
additional problems with Gundry's interpretation will be examined. 

Tripeco 8K versus rr|peu) ev 

The first reason for rejecting Gundry's interpretation of the 
phrase "keep out of" as necessarily implying protection within is that 
John 17:! 5 says exactly the opposite. It should be noted that Christ 
doesn't pray "but that thou shouldst keep them in the evil one." They 
are not to be protected within, but outside this sphere. However, the 
following statement reveals that Gundry understands this phrase in 
John 17:15 to mean "keep in" rather than "keep out of" and has 
confused the sphere of the evil one's power with the world. 

We cannot eliminate the parallel between the two verses by distinguish- 
ing a moral realm in John 17:15 and a physical realm in Revelation 
3:10. For it is the physical presence of the disciples in the world which 
places them in the moral sphere of the evil one [Italics added]. 10 



As Gundry points out: "The parallels between John 17:15 and Revelation 3:10 are 
very impressive. Both verses appear in Johannine literature. Both come from the lips of 
Jesus. A probability arises, therefore, of similar usage and meaning" (Gundry, The 
Church and the Tribulation, 58). 

10 Ibid., 59. 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION / 

Since Gundry conceives the sphere of the evil one's power to be co- 
extensive with the world, so that to be "in the world" means the same 
as to be "in the moral sphere of the evil one," it makes little or no 
difference to him whether Christ has prayed that the disciples should 
be kept in one or the other. Accordingly, Gundry understands the 
verse to mean that the disciples are to be kept from harm in the 
sphere of the evil one's power, the world. But the Lord simply prayed 
that while being in the world the disciples be kept from or out of 
Satan's power. This verse does not say that Christ prayed that the 
disciples might be preserved in the evil one's power, but just the 
contrary. Because the believers are of God, not of the world, they are 
enabled to be both in the world and yet out of the evil one's power. 

It must of course be acknowledged that the disciples were once in 
the evil one's power, but this is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. 
The question we are considering is whether the phrase tripeco ek in 
John 17:15 suggests that the disciples were within Satan's power when 
this prayer was uttered. In discussing the necessary implication of the 
Greek preposition, the meaning of "previous existence within" must 
be limited in John 17:15 to the status of the disciples when Christ 
uttered this prayer. In Rev 3:10 the implication of previous existence 
within must be limited to the status of the church of Philadelphia 
when Christ made this promise. The necessary implication of xripeco 
ek in John 17:15 is that the disciples were already out of the evil one's 
power; in like manner, the necessary implication of xr\pi(o ek in Rev 
3:10 is that the church of Philadelphia was already out of the hour of 
temptation. If, on the other hand, our Lord's prayer in John 17:15 
had been to keep them in the evil one's power, then the necessary 
implication would obviously be that they were already in his realm. 
And likewise, if his promise in Rev 3:10 was to keep the church of 
Philadelphia in the hour of temptation, then she would by implica- 
tion be informed that she will be in this period of time. 

That it is not m,p£co ek which necessarily implies previous 
existence within but rather ir|p£co ev ("keep in") can be seen from the 
four passages in the NT where xripsco ev/eic; occur. What is the 
necessary implication of Tr|p£co ev in Acts 12:5 if not that Peter was in 
prison? He could not be guarded in prison unless he was first in 
prison. What is the necessary implication of xripEO) Etc; in Acts 25:4 if 
not that Paul was in Caesarea? Again, Paul could not have been 
guarded in Caesarea unless he was first in Caesarea. We find the 
phrase again in 1 Peter 1:4 where we learn that our inheritance is 
"reserved in heaven." If it is being kept in heaven, it must by 
implication already be in heaven. In Jude 21 we are exhorted to 
"keep" ourselves "in" the love of God. Here again we find the phrase 



8 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

TTipeto ev. Before we can keep ourselves in the love of God, we must 
first be in his love. 

Now if these passages with rripecu ev are antonymous parallels to 
those with tripecc £K, then whatever the necessary implication of one 
set, the other set must bear the converse implication. If Tripeco ev/etc; 
in these passages has the obvious implication of "previous existence 
within," then xripeco ek in John 17:15 and Rev 3:10 must have the 
implication of "previous existence without." Before one can be kept 
in, one must already be in; and before one can be kept out, one must 
already be out. This relationship between being "kept in" and being in 
and between being "kept out" and being out may be illustrated by the 
following sentences: (1) "Teachers, please keep your students in the 
auditorium for the next fifteen minutes," and (2) "Teachers, please 
keep your students out of the auditorium until your class is called." 
In the first sentence, the phrase "keep . . . in" necessarily implies that 
the students "were in" the auditorium before the announcement was 
made. To "keep in" necessarily implies "previous existence within." In 
the second sentence, the phrase "keep . . . out of" necessarily implies 
that the students "were out of" the auditorium prior to the announce- 
ment. To "keep out of" necessarily implies "previous existence 
without." 

8K toO TTOvripoC versus ev T(5 Trovripw 

We have seen that xr|peco ek does not imply previous existence 
within as does tripecc ev, but just the opposite. The second set of 
antithetical expressions is found in the Johannine literature: ek tou 
7tovr|po0 in John 17:15 and ev t(p 7tovr|p<3 in 1 John 5:19." In 1 John 
5:19 we read, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world is 
in the power of the evil one" (RSV, italics added). 12 This verse implies 
unmistakably that the believers are not ev tw 7tovr)pcp ("in the power 
of the evil one") as is the rest of mankind. Now if 1 John 5:19 implies 



"These phrases illustrate the Johannine use of absolute contrasts. Concerning 
such absolutes, Hodges writes: "Thus one encounters such polarities as 'light and 
darkness,' 'love and hate,' 'believe and unbelief,' 'from above and from below,' and 
many others. It is now evident, from the evidence of Qumran, that this dualistic mode 
of thought was very much at home in the conceptual milieu of first-century Palestine. 
It would be an error, therefore, not to bring this observation to bear on the passage 
under consideration" (Zane C. Hodges, "Those Who Have Done Good — John 5:28- 
29," BSac 136 [1979] 163. 

12 The 7iovr|p6<; of 1 John 5:19 should be rendered "evil one." Buchell writes: "£v 
tco 7rovr|pG) is to be taken personally of the devil (cf. v. 18). The Kevrai kv . . . is perhaps 
par. to the ueveiv ev euoi of Jn. 15:1-10: As the believer abides in Christ, so that he is 
nourished and fruitfully sustained by Him, so the world lies in the devil, by whom it is 
controlled and rendered helpless and powerless, and finally killed (I Jn. 3:14)" (Fried- 
rich Buchel, "Keiuai," TDNT 3, 654, n. 3). 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 9 

that the believers are not in the evil one's power, then how can John 
17:15 imply that they are? Neither the Scriptures nor the implications 
drawn therefrom contradict each other. An honest exegesis of the two 
phrases in their respective contexts demands the recognition of their 
sharp contrast. If one is ev T(5 7tovr|p(3, he is not also 8K toO 
7tovr|poC. He is either in or out of the evil one's power. On the one 
hand, the implication of TT|pea) 8K in John 17:15 is that the believers 
are out o/the evil one's power. We are expressly told that "the wicked 
one toucheth him not" (1 John 5:18). On the other hand, the implica- 
tion in 1 John 5:19 is that the unregenerate is in the evil one's 
power. 13 

One's exegetical integrity may well be called in question if, in an 
effort to avoid the antithetical nature of these two phrases and the 
argumentation based upon it, he renders £K toO 7iovr|po0 in John 
17:15 "in the sphere of the evil one's power." If the disciples were 
merely in the sphere of the evil one's power, then what of the world of 
the unregenerate? Are they only in the sphere of the evil one's power? 
Or, are they actually in the evil one's power? If the &K toO novr|poO in 
John 17:15 does not actually suggest that the disciples were in 
(subject to) the evil one's power, but merely that they were in the 
sphere of the evil one's power (i.e., the world of mankind), then does 
the ev T(5 7rovr|pw in 1 John 5:19 suggest that the "whole world" of 
the unregenerate is, like the disciples, merely in the sphere of the evil 
one's power, i.e., in the world, rather than actually subject to the evil 
one? If so, the case of the disciples is no different from that of the 
unregenerate in respect to the power of the evil one. Although both 
the disciples and the unregenerates are accordingly in the sphere of 
the evil one's power, neither group is actually in the evil one's power. 
In effect, this unwarranted interpolation of "in the sphere of" erases 
this distinction. 

ev xtp ovouaii versus ev t<5 novr\p& 

The contention that rripeco eK in John 17:15 necessarily implies 
previous existence within fails to recognize a third set of antithetical 
expressions which is found in the immediate context. In John 17:11b 
the Lord prays, "Holy Father keep them in thy name which you have 
given me." And in John 17:12a he says, "While I was with them in the 
world, I kept them in thy name; those that thou gavest me I have 

13 In commenting on 6 koouoi; 6Xoq ev t<3 jtovr)p(p KEvrai, Sasse points out that 
this sharp contrast between the state of the believers and that of the unregenerate is 
expressed by another set of Johannine absolutes: "As believers in Christ are ev xpiotro, 
so the unbelieving cosmos is ev tcd rcovripcp, and as Christ is ev uuiv, so the apxwv xou 
koouou toutou, 6 novr\pdq, the wicked one, is ev T(p kooum" (Herman Sasse, 
"Koauoq," TDNT 3, 894). 



10 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

"kept." But in John 17:15 we read, "I do not pray that thou shouldst 
take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from 
the evil one" (RSV). It should be evident that there is a parallelism 
between "in the name" and "out of the evil one." 14 These two 
expressions describe spheres of power that are mutually exclusive. To 
be "in the name" necessarily means that one is "out of the evil one." 
One cannot be "in the evil one" and "in the name." The believers, 
being "out of the evil one" and "in the name," cannot be "in the evil 
one" without also being "out of the name." To be "kept out of the evil 
one's power" is the same as to be "kept in the name." As a result 
"none of them is lost," i.e., perish (v 12). Consequently, to be "in the 
name" and "out of the evil one" is the same as being "saved," and to 
be "in the evil one" and therefore "out of the name" is the same as 
being "lost." 

Now if the believers are "in the name" and therefore "out of the 
evil one," then how can the ir)p8(0 sk of John 17:15 imply that they 
are "in the evil one"? Those who are "in the evil one" are the lost, not 
the saved. "Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them 
is lost, but the son of perdition. . . ." (v 12). Failure on the part of the 
Lord to "keep" the disciples would be tantamount to them perishing, 
not undergoing persecution. John 17:15b assures the believers that 
they will never experience eternal perdition, not that they will be kept 
or protected from earthly persecutions. We cannot therefore interpret 
xripeco 8K in John 17:15 to mean that the believers are to be protected 
from harm while in the evil one's power. The phrase iripeco &K in 
John 17:15 cannot imply previous existence within. This phrase must 
mean preservation outside of the evil one's power in John 17:15 and 
preservation outside of the hour of temptation in Rev 3:10. 

FOUR PROBLEMS CONSIDERED 

Gundry's interpretation of John 17:15 and Rev 3:10 presents the 
following problems: (1) it results in a contradiction with regard to 
whether or not the disciples/ church may expect divine protection; 
(2) it deprives the church of Philadelphia of any meaningful word of 
encouragement; (3) in the light of the unique character of the great 
tribulation, it will not permit any future fulfillment of Rev 3:10; and 



As Riesenfeld points out: "It is evident that there is parallelism between ev t<3 
ovoucm (v. 12) and ev xoO 7tovr|po0 (v. 15). Hence ev here does not have an 
instrumental sense but a transferred spatial sen>e and can be rendered by "in the sphere 
of power of faith in thy name" as the opposite of the power of evil, which is to be kept 
at a distance. . . . The same applies in Rev. 3:10, where the transfigured Christ protects 
His community against (ek) eschatological temptation" (Harald Riesenfeld, "Tnpeto," 
TDNT 8, 142). 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 11 

(4) it denies that the object of £k denotes that from which the 
disciple/church is delivered. 

A Discrepancy 

The notion that TT|p6G) £k in Rev 3:10 and John 17:15 implies 
previous existence within must be rejected because this would in 
effect result in a contradiction between these two verses. In demon- 
strating this, Gundry's interpretation is summarized as follows: (1) The 
church saints in Rev 3:10 are the tribulation saints found in the 
subsequent chapters of Revelation; (2) The promise made in Rev 3:10 
is to exempt these saints from the testings of the hour; and, accord- 
ingly, (3) The church/ tribulation saints will not suffer during this 
period of time. However, since the Scriptures indicate that the 
tribulation saints do suffer during this time, Gundry's interpretation 
flounders at this point. In n. 35, p. 59, Gundry writes, "The Church 
will suffer the wrath of Satan and the AntiChrist in the form of 
persecution." According to Gundry, the promise in Rev 3:10 only 
provides exemption from the plagues that God will send upon those 
who have the mark of the beast. 

As a result of attempting to dismiss the charge of his interpreta- 
tion of Rev 3:10 being inconsistent with the known fact that the 
tribulation saints (which he identifies with the church) do indeed 
suffer the wrath of Satan and the AntiChrist, Gundry has left himself 
exposed to still another charge. According to his interpretation, the 
phrase "keep out of the evil one" in John 17:15 means protection 
from being harmed by Satan while in the sphere of danger. And the 
phrase "keep you out of the hour of testing" in Rev 3:10 means 
protection from the events within this period of time. These events, 
however, from which the church is to be protected are limited by 
Gundry to the plagues God will inflict upon the ungodly. According 
to Gundry, Rev 3:10 does not promise the church exemption from the 
persecutions of Satan. So, then, according to his interpretation of 
John 17:15, the church will be protected from "dangers" which are 
instigated by Satan, but according to his interpretation of Rev 3:10, 
the church will not be protected from such. 

An Empty Promise 

Gundry's interpretation of John 17:15 and Rev 3:10 also fails to 
provide any measure of comfort to the church in this period of trials. 
If God will protect his saints from the plagues he will inflict upon the 
ungodly, we may well ask why he doesn't protect them against those 
persecutions directed at them by Satan. If in fact the church will enter 
the great tribulation, it would seem that the Lord would provide 



12 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

something more in the way of protection for the church as she faces 
the most terrible period of persecution in history. It seems a misuse of 
language to speak of those who are not divine targets (i.e., the 
church/ tribulation saints) as being "protected" when in fact nothing 
is actually done to prevent them from suffering at the hands of Satan. 
It is a mockery to conceive of anyone being "comforted" (and surely 
that is the intent of the promise in Rev 3:10) by the fact that he is 
only the target of Satan. If while a believer is in the crosshairs of one 
sharpshooter (Satan) who fully intends to kill him, he learns that 
another one (God) promises not to do the same, but will not however 
protect him from the other, what comfort is there in this? How can 
one rejoice over this "promise of protection"? What consolation is 
there in such "protection" if one is left utterly exposed to the "wrath 
of Satan and the AntiChrist in the form of persecution"? Like the fine 
print in some insurance policies, Gundry's footnote so limits the 
promise of protection in Rev 3:10 as to make it meaningless. 



Lack of Correspondence 

Some expositors today teach that the seven churches of Revela- 
tion 2 and 3 are representative of seven different kinds of churches 
that have existed throughout the history of the church. However, 
most premillennialists understand these seven churches to represent 
seven periods of church history in prophetic outline. This assumes a 
certain correspondence between the character and experience of the 
local churches described in these two chapters and that of the 
universal church throughout its history. It is upon this correspon- 
dence that an eschatological interpretation of Rev 3:10 is based. If 
"the hour of temptation" refers to a period of persecution in the past, 
then the promise of Rev 3:10, however interpreted, has long been 
fulfilled. This passage is thereby denied any eschatological signifi- 
cance. 

Assuming, however, that each of the seven churches in Revela- 
tion 2 and 3 corresponds to a particular period of church history, 
whatever is said of one of these local churches represents the experi- 
ence of the universal church in the corresponding period of its 
history. Whatever xripeco sk implies for the local church of Phila- 
delphia in the first century must be the same as what it implies for the 
universal church. The rr|pecfl 8K cannot, on the one hand, imply that 
the local church of Philadelphia would be kept out of the hour of 
trial, and on the other hand, imply that the universal church would 
enter into the great tribulation and emerge victorious at its end. If the 
Tripeco 8K means "be kept from harm while in the hour of trials," then 
the church of Philadelphia must have entered into the hour of trial, 
and the universal church will likewise enter into this period of 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 13 

persecution. If Tripew 8K means "to be kept out of the hour of trials," 
then the church of Philadelphia was assured that it would never enter 
into this period, and the universal church would, in like manner, be 
exempted from this period of suffering. 

However, Gundry's interpretation of Rev 3:10 can only be sus- 
tained by denying this essential correspondence between the experience 
of the local church and that of the universal church. In the pre- 
tribulational interpretation of Rev 3:10 this correspondence is 
maintained. Both the local church of Philadelphia and the universal 
church are kept out of the hour of trial. Since the church of 
Philadelphia passed into the Lord's presence by death, the promise to 
keep her from the hour of trial was fulfilled centuries ago. However, 
according to 1 Thess 4:15, the universal church will survive unto the 
coming of the Lord. Unlike the church of Philadelphia, it will not be 
kept out of the hour of trial by death. The promise to keep her from 
the hour of trial must, therefore, be fulfilled by prior removal. 

If the iripeco 8K in Rev 3:10b implies previous existence within, 
then the church of Philadelphia would have been informed that she 
would enter into the great tribulation, be preserved within it, and 
emerge victorious at its end. This is what Gundry claims for the 
future fulfillment of this promise. But if Trjpeco £K implies previous 
existence within, then there can be no future fulfillment. Both pre- 
tribulationists and posttribulationists believe that the hour of testing 
in Rev 3:10 is the same as the great tribulation which is described in 
Matt 24:21 as follows: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as 
was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever 
shall be." This passage clearly states that there will only be one period 
properly called the "great tribulation." If the church of Philadelphia 
entered into it centuries ago, then the whole issue is irrelevant today. 
The very existence of this issue in the twentieth century assumes that 
the great tribulation has not yet arrived; it is still in the future. 
Whatever was promised to the church of Philadelphia in Rev 3:10 has 
long been fulfilled. Suggesting that the phrase tripeo) £K necessarily 
implies previous existence within is complicated by the fact that the 
church of Philadelphia never actually entered into the great tribula- 
tion. Therefore tripeo) ek in Rev 3:10 cannot imply previous existence 
within. 

The promise to keep the church of Philadelphia from the hour of 
testing necessarily implies that it was already out of this period of 
suffering. And since the saints of this church died long before its 
arrival, it is impossible for them to enter therein. The promise also 
pertains to the church era at the close of this age. The church at the 
end of the age will also be kept out of the hour of testing, but not in 
the same manner: "Then we which are alive and remain unto the 
coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with them in the 



14 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the 
Lord" (1 Thess 4:17). 

The Object of ek 

If iripeco £K in Rev 3:10b implies previous existence within, from 
what is the church to be delivered? Latent in Gundry's treatment of 
Rev 3:10 is the basic assumption that the object of £K in John 17:15b 
and Rev 3:10b (tod TtovripoO and xfj<; (open;) designates the sphere in 
which the disciple/ church is "guarded." The unexpressed threat from 
which the disciple/ church is "guarded" must be read into the con- 
struction. Although Gundry is careful not to interpolate the words 
"from dangers" in his treatment of John 17:15 and "from the trials" in 
Rev 3:10, it is clear from his comments on the word keep and hour 15 
that some such phrase must be supplied. To Gundry it is not 
deliverance "from the evil one's power" (£k tou rcovripou) for which 
Christ prays but rather deliverance from the "dangers" in the sphere 
of the evil one. And it is not deliverance "from the hour of testing" 
(ek xfjc; copou; toO Tieipaauou) which Christ promises the church, but 
rather deliverance from the "events" within this period of time. 

Gundry points out that the ek of Rev 3:10b is cited in BAG 
under I.e. "of situations and circumstances out of which someone is 
brought" (italics added). 16 On the surface this tends to support 
Gundry's contention that ek with iripeco means out from within and 
therefore strengthens the posttribulational position. However, a care- 
ful study of the other references cited by BAG under I.e. will show 
that TT|p£G) 8K in Rev 3:10b does not convey this thought. According 
to BAG, 17 this use of ek is illustrated in the NT by the following 
passages: (1) Gal 3:13 with e£ayopd£(o, "redeemed us from the curse 
of the law"; (2) 1 Pet 1:18 with Xutpoo), "redeemed . . . from your 
vain conversation"; (3) John 12:27, Heb 5:7, and James 5:20 with 
aco^o, "save me from this hour" (John 12:27), "save him from death" 
(Heb 5:7), and "save a soul from death" (James 5:20); (4) Acts 7:10 
with e^aipeo), "delivered him out of all his afflictions"; (5) John 5:24 
and 1 John 3:14 with ueTa|3aivco, "is passed from death unto life" 
(John 5:24) and "have passed from death unto life" (John 3:14); 
(6) Rev 2:21; 9:20; and 16:11 with uexavoECO, "repent of her fornica- 
tion" (2:21), "repented of the works of their hands" (9:20), and 
"repented of their deeds" (16:11); (7) Rev 14:13 with dvarotiko "rest 
from their labors"; (8) Rom 13:11 with £yeip(o, "awake out of sleep"; 



15 Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 58-60. 
16 Ibid., 55. n. 23. 
11 BAG, 233. 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 15 

(9) Rom 11:15 with Ccorj, "life from the dead"; and (10) Rom 6:13 
with £d(D, "alive from the dead." In these references the object of the 
preposition (see italicized words above) expresses that from which 
one is delivered. According to Gundry, however, deliverance in Rev 
3:10 is not from the object of the preposition, i.e., "the hour," but 
from the "events" of the hour. 

The use of &K in Rev 3:10b is not the same as the other references 
listed in BAG under I.e. Rather than £K in Rev 3:10b being used "of 
situations and circumstances out of which someone is brought," it is 
used of a situation or circumstance (the hour of testing) from which 
the church of Philadelphia is kept at a distance. The use of 8K in Rev 
3:10b is more like that given by BAG under l.d. "of pers. and things 
with whom a connection is severed or is to remain severed." 18 Cited 
under this usage of 8K is John 17:15 and Acts 15:29, 19 the two other 
passages in the NT where ir|p8(o is found with the same grammatical 
construction it has in Rev 3:10b. In Thayer's treatment of 8K, Rev 
3:10b is cited along with these two other passages under 6. "of any 
kind of separation or dissolution of connection with a thing or 
person." According to Thayer, 20 the construction xripeiv nva 8K 
found in these three passages means "to keep one at a distance from." 
This does not suggest previous existence within but the perpetuation 
of a distance between the object of the verb and the object of the 
preposition. 21 

CONCLUSION 

Interpreting the phrase xripsa) 8K in John 17:15 as implying the 
previous existence of the disciples within the evil one's power results 
in the following complications: (1) The text does not read xripeco ev; 
as we have seen, it is this phrase that implies previous existence 
within rather than inpeto ek; (2) If ek tou rcovr|po0 implies previous 
existence within, as does ev tg) 7tovr|pw, then the relationship of the 
disciples to the evil one is the same as that of the unregenerate; (3) If, 
on the one hand, the disciples are "in the evil one," as Gundry's 
interpretation demands, they are "out of the name" and therefore 
lost; if, on the other hand, the prayer of John 17:15b assured the 
disciples of being kept outside of the realm of the evil one, "they shall 
never perish" (John 10:28); (4) In identifying the church with the 
tribulation saints and then limiting this promise of protection in Rev 



18 Ibid. 

19 Acts 15:29 has the intensified form, Siaxripeo. 

20 Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1962) 190. 

21 Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 



16 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

3:10 to the divine plagues, Gundry has neutralized the prayer in John 
17:15 by the limitations of the promise in Rev 3:10. Rather than the 
church being kept from harm in the moral sphere of the evil one, she 
will suffer bitterly from the hands of Satan and the Antichrist; 
(5) Gundry's interpretation of Rev 3:10 robs the church of any real 
consolation; (6) The local church of Philadelphia would have actually 
had to enter into the hour of trial if rr|p£co 8K necessarily implies 
emergence from within the great tribulation; and (7) If the object of 
the preposition denotes the sphere in which one is guarded, rather 
than that from which one is delivered, then Gundry's interpretation 
necessitates reading something like "from dangers" or "from the 
trials" into the texts. 

Gundry has recognized the importance of John 17:15 in deter- 
mining our interpretation of Rev 3:10 in that it is the only other 
passage where tripeco ek is found in the NT. If this phrase were to 
suggest the existence of the disciples within the evil one's power, then 
this same implication is also likely in Rev 3:10. If, on the other hand, 
John 17:15 does not imply the existence of the disciples within the 
evil one's power, then Gundry's contention that iripeo) £K implies 
previous existence within the hour of temptation is unfounded. These 
are fair and reasonable conclusions. 

The supposed implication of "previous existence within" of 
xr|ps(o ek must not be allowed to overthrow the explicit teaching of 
the text. If Rev 3:10 is a promise of protection in the hour of testing 
rather than out of this period, then it would read as such. The Holy 
Spirit would then have guided the Apostle John to write the preposi- 
tion kv rather than ek in the text. The only difference between these 
two Greek prepositions is a single letter. But this single letter spells 
the difference between this passage teaching pretribulationism or 
posttribulationism, and no amount of sophistry can twist one letter of 
Scripture into another. 



The difference between being "'kept out of" and being ''''saved 
(delivered, redeemed, etc.) out of" 

At 2:00 a.m. Mr. Jones in Apartment 506 wakes up. He smells 
smoke and turns on the light, but there is no fire. Then he notices 
smoke coming under the door leading into the hall. He opens the hall 
door and sees that the smoke is coming from Mr. Smith's apartment, 
509. At this time Mr. Smith wakes up. It seems that he had been 
smoking in bed and had fallen asleep. The cigarette fell to the carpet 
and caused the fire which has him trapped within the apartment. Now 



WINFREY: THE GREAT TRIBULATION 17 

Mr. Jones from 506 is out in the hall and is about to open the door to 
509 so as to help Mr. Smith when he hears a fireman call out, "Don't 
open that door!" The fireman runs up the hall to prevent Mr. Jones 
from opening the door and thereby allowing the flames to spread. 
Mr. Jones tells the fireman that a man is trapped inside. However, 
the fireman informs him that Mr. Smith will be saved out of his 
burning apartment by another fireman who by being raised up on a 
ladder outside the apartment will provide the only means of escape. 
Later Mr. Smith is delivered out of the fiery apartment. He has 
suffered severe burns, but is expected to make a complete recovery. 
Ironically, although critical of the sophistry of others, Gundry 
indulges in some of his own. He does this by seeking to prove that 
"keep out of the hour of trial" really means "keep in the hour of 
trial." It is only natural to ask that if this be so why the preposition ev 
("in") was not used instead of 8K ("out of"). He answers that it is all a 
matter of "emphasis." He writes, 

As it is, 6K lays all the emphasis on emergence, in this verse on the 
final, victorious outcome of the keeping-guarding. The same emphasis 
crops up in Revelation 7:14, where the saints come "out of the great 
tribulation." 22 

To Gundry being "kept out of" the hour of trial means the same as 
"coming out of" the great tribulation. 

Gundry's main argument is simply this: since £K is used with 
rripecD in Rev 3:10b, the preposition carries, he says, with it "the 
necessary implication of previous existence within" as it does in Rev 
7:14 where it is used with the verb ep^ouai ("coming"). 23 Would 
Gundry have us believe that Mr. Jones' situation in being kept out of 
the burning apartment by one fireman is the same as Mr. Smith's 
situation in being saved out of his burning apartment by the other? 
Of course not! Nevertheless, as we have seen, Gundry sees little 
difference between Rev 3:10 where the church is promised to be kept 
out of the hour of testing and Rev 7:14 where the great multitude is 
said to come out of the great tribulation. Would Gundry try to 
convince us that the fact that Mr. Jones was "kept out of" the 
apartment necessarily implies that he was within? Of course not! Now 
if being kept out of a burning apartment does not suggest "previous 
existence within," then being kept out of the hour of trial does not 
necessarily imply "previous existence within." The necessary implica- 
tion of the church of Philadelphia being kept out of the hour of 



Ibid. 
'Ibid. 



18 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

testing is that it was out. The church will be kept out of the fiery 
furnace of the great tribulation so as to never enter therein. 

The nation of Israel, however, will enter this time of fiery trials, 
for we read, "Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is 
the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it" (Jer 30:7, see 
37:7, LXX). Being "saved out of," unlike being "kept out of," does 
necessarily imply "previous existence within." Like Mr. Smith, who 
woke up in the middle of his flaming apartment, Israel will also wake 
up and be delivered out of the great tribulation, but not without great 
suffering. 

In contrast to the first half of chap. 7 of Revelation, which 
concerns the sealing of the 144 thousand Jews, the last half (vv 9-17) 
concerns the saved tribulation Gentiles. They are said to "come out 
of" (ek) the great tribulation. They, too, like Mr. Smith, come out of 
the fiery trial. This necessarily implies that they were first within. 

In conclusion, with the help of this analogy, we have seen: 
(1) that to be "kept out of," as Mr. Jones was kept out of Mr. Smith's 
burning apartment, does not imply "previous existence within" but 
rather "previous existence without ," and (2) that to be "kept out of" 
implies protection which prevents entrance within. 



ROBERT H. GUNDRY AND 
REVELATION 3:10 

Thomas R. Edgar 



Robert Gundry's interpretation of Rev 3:10 is impossible gram- 
matically and linguistically. The separation of the expression znp£a> 
itc into two separate and contradictory aspects is a grammatical 
impossibility. In addition, the lexical meanings Gundry assigns to the 
verb and preposition are impossible in the expression vtjpeco £k unless 
this grammatically incorrect separation is maintained. On a purely 
factual basis, it is shown that, contrary to Gundry's statements, the 
expression rnpico iK is ideally suited to the pretribulational perspec- 
tive of Rev 3:10. 



Rev 3:10 states, "Because thou has kept the word of my patience, 
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come 
upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth." 

This verse, which promises that believers will be "kept from the 
hour of trial coming on the entire earth," seems to teach a pretribula- 
tional rapture (departure of the church to be with the Lord before the 
tribulation period). The words Tr)prjaco £k ("keep from," "keep out 
of") seem clear. However, those who believe that the rapture occurs 
at the end of the tribulation (posttribulational rapture) argue that 
xr|prja(o £k does not support a pretribulational rapture, but instead 
means "protect through," or "protect in" the tribulation, or some 
similar concept. 

A relatively recent argument against a pretribulational rapture, 
which stresses that xriprjacD &k does not mean "keep from" the time of 
tribulation, is The Church and the Tribulation, by Robert H. Gundry. 
The publishers state on the flyleaf that they believe "it will become 
the standard text on the posttribulational viewpoint of the rapture of 
the church." 1 However, Gundry's book is best described as an 

'Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1973). 



20 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

argument against pretribulationism rather than as support for post- 
tribulationism, since the book consists of an attempt to refute the 
ideas of pretribulationalism rather than a real positive argument for a 
posttribulational rapture. Any attempt to derive Gundry's "system" 
from his book is very difficult, since he does not state it explicitly and 
some of his arguments and conclusions contradict others. 

Rather than discuss Gundry's entire book, this article focuses on 
the section dealing with Rev 3:10, and particularly the discussion of 
Tr\pf\oa £K. Although many pretribulationists do not seem to realize 
the force of Rev 3:10, those who write against pretribulationism do 
and recognize the necessity to explain the plain statements of the 
verse in a manner consistent with their position. Gundry's basic 
contention is that rr|peco means "to keep or protect in a sphere of 
danger," and that £K means "emergence from within" something. 
Therefore, Tr)prjoco £K means "to protect believers in the tribulation 
period with a final emergence" near the end of the tribulation. He 
also argues that John would have used and or some similar prepo- 
sition rather than ek if he referred to a pretribulational rapture. When 
this work first appeared, I noticed a basic exegetical error regarding 
xr|pr|aco ek. An analysis of Gundry's work shows that his view of 
xr\pr\o(£) sk is a grammatical and logical impossibility, and his state- 
ment that drco would be more appropriate than ek for a pretribula- 
tional view of Rev 3:10 is unfounded. 

gundry's exegesis 

General inconsistencies 

As noted earlier, Gundry does not specifically state the precise 
system or order of events involved in his view. This must be deduced 
from the discussion. However, this is more difficult than one would 
expect due to inconsistencies in his statements and argumentation. 
An example from his discussion of Rev 3:10 will demonstrate this. He 
argues from Rev 3:10 that the expression "kept from the hour of 
trial" means that Christians will be kept through the tribulation 
period (the hour of trial) and be delivered out of it at the last moment 
when God's strong wrath is poured out on the earth. 2 After a long 
discussion emphasizing the fact that believers will be kept through the 
hour and finally taken out of it, he then argues on the basis of the 
word copa ("hour") that the "hour of testing may refer only to the 
very last crisis at the close of the tribulation." 3 It is clear from 
numerous statements in the book that he believes that the church will 



Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 55-60. 
3 Ibid.. 61. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 21 

not go through this "last crisis" at the close of the tribulation. It will 
be taken out prior to this "last crisis"; it will be raptured pre-"final 
crisis", i.e., pre-"hour of testing." However, this is the same "hour of 
testing" which he earlier insists the church will be in and from which 
it will emerge at the end. This seems to be a contradiction. 

First, Gundry assumes that the "hour of trial" is the tribulation 
period and presents a sustained argument on the basis of rr|pr|aG) sk 
that "kept from the hour of trial" means "protected in the hour of 
trial and only delivered at the end." Then he argues from the same 
passage on the basis of another word in the same phrase, wpa, that 
the "hour of trial" may refer to the last crisis rather than the 
tribulation. However, the church will not be kept in and eventually 
emerge from the hour of trial or last crisis, but will be delivered 
before the "hour." But what about the argument that rr|pr|aG) £K 
proves "protection in and eventual emergence?" For Gundry, xr\pr\ou> 
8K can mean "keep completely out of" if the hour is the "last crisis," 
but must mean "keep in and eventually out" if the hour is the entire 
tribulation. Despite all his argument for xr|pr]oco 8K as "protect in 
with eventual emergence," Gundry apparently has no problem dis- 
pensing with all of it and taking rnprjocD 8K as "keep out of" (as pre- 
tribulationists say) if the hour refers to the final crisis, since his 
position requires it. His meaning for Tr)prjaco 8K apparently can 
fluctuate, depending on the meaning of "hour," in whatever way is 
necessary to preserve his preconceived view. If Gundry believes that 
the church will be removed before the "final crisis," then apparently 
he does not really believe that iriprjaa) sk in Rev 3:10 means "keep in 
with final emergence" on the basis of exegesis of xriprjaa) 8K, as he 
claims; rather, the determinative factor for the meaning of tripiiaco 8K 
seems to be the meaning he assumes for the hour of trial. In other 
words, the exegetical meanings are controlled by a presumed post- 
tribulational position. If Gundry believes that the "hour of trial" may 
be the "final crisis," then to be consistent he should argue that the 
church will be kept in the final crisis (hour) and eventually emerge. 
He cannot do this, however, and still maintain one of his basic 
arguments, namely, that the church does not experience God's wrath. 
This manner of argument, which proceeds as if each word is in 
isolation from those around it and gives one meaning to a biblical 
expression in order to argue a specific point and then assigns the 
same expression a different and contradictory meaning to argue 
another point, is typical of the book. 

The next section will discuss the most glaring blunder in Gundry's 
exegesis, a classic case of losing sight of the forest due to the trees. 
The most amazing fact is that those who have evaluated Gundry's 
book have either not noticed it or paid little attention to it, although 
they have pointed out other obvious inconsistencies. 



22 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The impossibility of Gundry's view of the meaning 
of tfjptjaco £k 

Gundry argues that the preposition ek means "out from within" 
and that its primary sense is emergence. 4 From this he concludes that 
8K requires that the church be in the hour of the tribulation so that it 
can emerge from within. He also argues that TT|p6co "always occurs 
for protection within the sphere of danger." 5 He then states regarding 
Triprjaco £k, "we properly understand xrjpSco £k as protection issuing 
in emission." 6 He adds, "Presence within the period is directly 
implied. " 7 He clearly states that this emission is not at the beginning 
of the tribulation period 8 but in the final stage, that is, after a 
prolonged time of "keeping" or protection in the tribulation period. 

Gundry has been accused of separating the verb and the preposi- 
tion into two separate acts. In response to criticism he states that he 
does not separate the two. 9 Let us look at some facts. (1) If £k means 
"emergence" or "emission" and TT|p6co always means "protection 
within the sphere of danger" (both of which Gundry claims), then the 
only way one can conclude (as Gundry does) that Tr|p6co ek 10 is 
protection through most of the tribulation issuing in emission near 
the end of the tribulation period is to take each word separately and 
add the individual meanings. This is to treat the words as though they 
were two individual entries in a dictionary and ignore the fact that 
they are in a clause and function together. There is no way to deny 
that he has done this; Gundry's denials cannot disprove the obvious 
fact that he has separated the two. (2) Additional statements by 
Gundry 11 in his book make it clear that he does separate the verb and 
the preposition. Arguing that ek means "emergence from within," but 
trying to refute any attempts to have the emergence at the beginning 
of the tribulation, Gundry, arguing that rr|p6cu requires definite 
keeping in the tribulation period, states, 

... if we imagine that £k denotes exit, but say that the church will be 
caught out right after the beginning of the seventieth week, we render 
the word Tr|p6co {keep or guard) practically meaningless. ... It would 
be sheer sophistry to say that the church will be removed immediately 



4 Ibid., 55-56. 

5 Ibid., 58 [emphasis mine]. 
6 Ibid., 59. 
7 Ibid. 
8 Ibid„ 57. 

'Robert H. Gundry, excerpts from a letter dated June 28, 1974. 
10 The lexical form xr|p6co Ik will be used from now on in the discussion rather 
than the future Triprjaco as it actually occurs in Rev 3:10. 
"Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 23 

upon entrance into the hour, for then the keeping will last only for an 
instant and the promise becomes devoid of real meaning. 12 

It is obvious from this quotation that Gundry wants to have a 
definite, prolonged period of keeping (xripsco) as well as eventual 
emission (£k). This requires not iripeo) ek but xripEco Kai ... ek. If 
any more evidence is required to demonstrate the separation of the 
verb from the preposition into two aspects, a statement in the next 
paragraph of Gundry's book leaves no room for doubt. Gundry 
explains why he thinks other prepositions which would be more 
clearly posttribulational were not used in Rev 3:10: they do not have 
the proper emphasis. Then he explains why ek is used: "As it is, ek 
lays all the emphasis on emergence, in this verse on the final, 
victorious outcome of the keeping-guarding." 13 Here he insists on the 
full meaning of "emergence from within" for the preposition ek. 

From these two quotations it is clear that Gundry argues that 
ttipeol) demands a definite and extended time of "keeping-guarding" 
and that ek lays all the emphasis on emergence as the outcome of the 
keeping-guarding. As he states numerous times, ttipeco ek means a 
prolonged period of keeping in the tribulation with emission at the 
final stage since otherwise, he feels, tripEco and ek lose their meaning. 
Contrary to his denial, he has concluded that the meaning of tr|p£co 
ek is the sum of the meanings of iripsco taken independently and ek 
taken independently. In fact, it is even worse, since rr|p£co ceases 
functioning near the end of the hour and £k does not function at all 
until the last moment. 

However, this piecemeal approach to exegesis is a grammatical 
impossibility. When a verb is followed by a prepositional phrase, as 
here, the prepositional phrase gives the direction to the verb. An 
illustration will help. "Stand up" in English does not mean stand for a 
while and eventually climb up. It is one action, i.e., standing in the 
upward direction, that is, rising. "Keep out" does not mean keep in 
for a while and eventually come out. It is one action, to keep in a 
certain direction, to keep out, i.e., stay out of. To interpret Acts 12:5 
as Gundry does Rev 3:10 would mean that Peter was being protected 
(kept) by the Jews in some sphere of danger and after a prolonged 
period of time he was placed in jail (Ylixpoc, ettipeito ev ttj (puXaKfj). 
It is clear from the context that Peter was being "kept in" the prison; 
there is only one action. A more obvious example is Acts 4:10. 
"Whom God raised from the dead" (fjy£ip£v ek VEKpdJv) does not 
mean that Jesus was raised for a prolonged period of time and 

12 Ibid. These are not isolated instances taken out of context. The work is saturated 
with this concept and such expressions. 
13 Ibid. 



24 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

eventually came out of the dead. The verb and preposition describe 
one action, "to raise out of." 

A few more examples should clarify the point. If Gundry is 
consistent with his reasoning on the meaning of tripeco ek, then Acts 
25:4, TripeiaGcu tov n<xO?iov eic; Kaiadpeiav, "keep Paul in Caesarea," 
would mean to keep Paul protected somewhere for a prolonged time 
(otherwise xripEco is devoid of meaning) and then rapidly push him 
into Caesarea (since eic; means "into," normally with the concept of 
going into something). However, it is clear that tripeco and eic, do not 
function as two separate entities in this passage. Rather they are two 
words describing one action. The preposition eic; has the basic idea 
"into" but combined with tripeo) it obviously means "in." The same is 
true of tripeco ek. Although ek may have the basic idea "out from 
within," when it is combined with Tripeco it can only mean out and the 
idea of emergence is not involved. So tripeco ek in Rev 3:10 cannot 
describe two actions "to keep in and eventually emerge," but one 
action, "to keep out." 

It is no more possible to separate a verb and its accompanying 
prepositional phrase into two separate actions in Greek than it is in 
English. Rather, as in normal language use, the preposition states the 
action in a more specific sense. Does any language function as 
Gundry interprets xr|peo) ek? Certainly Greek does not. 

Even if Gundry did not separate the two, his solution is still 
impossible. How can "to keep in" be combined in one action with a 
preposition meaning "out from within, to emerge '7 Can any sense be 
made of "I will keep you in out from within?" Obviously, something 
is wrong. Since Jesus combines the two words, they must make sense. 
The only solution is that Gundry has given a wrong meaning to one 
of the words. "Out from within" is a common meaning for ek. It may 
also mean "out" without any idea of emergence 14 contrary to Gundry's 
claim. But this gives the impossible meaning "I will keep you in out," 
or "I will keep you in out from within." Since neither of the two 
renderings of ek ("out" or "out from within") alters the impossibility 
of this rendering, the problem is with Gundry's interpretation of 
iripEco. Clearly ek means out. "Out" and "in" cannot go together in 
one action. Since "out" is clearly correct, the problem is with the idea 
"in." 

The problem is that Tripeco does not mean "to keep iri" as 
Gundry claims, but merely "to keep" or "guard." Some other indica- 
tion, such as the preposition, is necessary to indicate the direction, 
location, or sphere of the keeping. This can be seen by comparing 
iripEco ev, ("keep in") and rr|p£co and ("keep from"). The verb is the 



See the more detailed discussion of eic to follow. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 25 

same but the preposition changes the direction or locale of the 
"keeping." It should be obvious to anyone with even a cursory 
acquaintance with grammar that iripeco ("keep") cannot mean "keep 
in" when it occurs with a preposition meaning "out." 'Ek does not 
always mean emergence as Gundry claims; but in each occurrence it 
does always mean the opposite of "in." 

We have seen the impossibility of interpreting xripsco £K in Rev 
3:10 as protection for a period of time issuing in emission. It is a 
linguistic impossibility. Tr)peco with £K ("out") cannot have any 
meaning of "in." If the meaning of xripeco ("keep") is twisted to mean 
"deliver" or "take" there is still no stress on being "in." No matter 
how the meaning of iripsto is twisted this expression says nothing at 
all regarding presence in or through the tribulation. 

Gundry's contention that tripeco, when "a situation of danger is 
in view," always means "protection within the sphere of danger" 15 is 
less than convincing when TT|pe(o is studied. First, iripeo) usually 
means "keep" without any idea of "keeping in." Second, there is no 
place where xripsco means "keep in" a sphere, which sphere is the 
object of the preposition, when it occurs with a preposition meaning 
something other than "in" (or possibly "through," implying presence 
in). Tripeco and, tripeco utto, xripeco d^pi, rr|p£co 7iapd, Tripeco 7repi, 
tripeco sk, etc., do not mean and cannot mean "keep in." 

Although Gundry argues that in, pew always means "protection 
within the sphere of danger" and therefore xripeco in Rev 3:10 
demands prolonged presence in the tribulation, he apparently forgets 
that on the previous page he stated that tr|peo) and would not require 
presence within the tribulation. In other words, although the same 
sphere of danger is present, tripeco does not require presence within 
the sphere of danger in this case. The only change is that the 
preposition 8K has been changed to and, but this means that he must 
be wrong on at least one of these points since they contradict each 
other. Tr|psG) cannot always require presence in the sphere of danger 
if it does not with and. If it is not required with and, then it is 
impossible for xripsco, in itself, to require presence in the sphere of 
danger. Since obviously &K, which means "out of," cannot require 
presence in something, then not only on the obvious facts of language 
mentioned above, but on the basis of Gundry's own statements, 
tripsco 8K in Rev 3:10 cannot require presence in the tribulation 
period. The only possible constructions using the standard prepo- 
sitions which mean "keep in" are those that occur with a preposition 
meaning or implying "in": tripeco £v, iripeoo eiq, orxripeco Sid. Tr)p£0) 
eiq occurs in the NT with the meaning to keep "until" or "unto" some 



Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 58. 



26 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

point, and therefore in the NT does not mean to "keep in."Tr|pe(o sv 
would stress the fact that the person would be "kept in" some sphere 
and not allowed out, whereas iripeco Sid in Rev 3:10 would stress the 
idea of protection during the time involved. It is impossible for TTjpeco 
with any preposition to mean keep in and eventually remove. It is 
impossible to state both of these concepts with any one verb and its 
accompanying prepositional phrase. 

It is logically and grammatically impossible for xr|peco ek in Rev 
3:10 to mean protection within the tribulation period (sphere of 
danger) with eventual emergence, as Gundry claims. This is not 
merely a difference in possible interpretations but a calamitous 
linguistic and logical blunder. I am certain that Gundry himself 
knows better than to treat Greek or any language in such a way. 
However, he has argued as if the individual words were in isolation 
and combined the details of each in mutually contradictory fashion. 

Tr|peco £K in rev 3:10 definitely implies 

A PRETRIBULATIONAL RAPTURE 

If the rapture is pre-"hour of trial," a study of the terms in Rev 
3:10 indicates that rripeco ek is the most natural choice, rather than an 
improbable choice. In addition, iripeco sk is definitely against the idea 
that the believers will be in or kept through the "hour of trial." It 
must be kept in mind, however, that the entire phrase iripeco sk . . . is 
decisive, not merely individual words in isolation. The words will be 
discussed individually and then as a unit. 

Eat does not necessitate the idea of emergence 

Gundry argues that the preposition sk has the basic idea of 
emergence and therefore implies that the believers addressed in Rev 
3:10, in order to emerge, must have been in the tribulation period. 16 
He states: "if sk ever occurs without the thought of emergence, it does 
so very exceptionally." 17 

A study of sk does not support Gundry's contentions. The 
following statistics were derived from a study of each of the 923 
occurrences of ek in the NT. 18 



16 Ibid., 55-56. 

17 Ibid., 56. 

18 W. F. Moulton and A. S. Geden, 5th ed., rev. by H. F. Moulton, A Con- 
cordance to the Greek Testament (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978), pp. 1058-67. 
Robert Morgenthaler (Statistik des neutestamenlichen Wortschatzes [Zurich: Gotthelf, 
1958] 92) counts 915/ 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 27 

Approximate Number of Occurrences* 9 in 
Certain General Categories 



Cause 


20 


Partitive 


130 


Content 


32 


Separation 


52 


Emergence 


186 


Source 


253 


Location (at) 


23 


Time 


16 


Means 


90 







Although there often is an implication of emergence from within 
in uses other than the one titled "emergence," it is clear that in the 
majority of instances, the primary stress in the preposition 6K is not 
that of emergence. Several of the above categories seem to be 
definitely contrary to the meaning of emergence. The category titled 
"separation" is specifically a category for passages which do not mean 
emergence, but imply "away from" or "from," just as and. Some 
examples are as follows. 

John 20:1. Mary saw the stone which had been taken "away 
from (ek) the tomb." It does not seem likely that the stone was inside 
the tomb to emerge from within. Matt 27:60, 66; 28:2, and Luke 24:2 
use and to0 uvr)U£iou "away from the tomb" to describe the stone 
but do not indicate that it was inside the tomb. Another incident 
where a stone was taken away from a tomb is the raising of Lazarus. 
The tomb was a cave and the stone was placed or lying "upon" it, not 
within it. All of these verses indicate that the stone was not inside the 
tomb; therefore, £K was used in John 20:21 to mean "away from" 
without any idea of emergence. The stone was not "pulled out of the 
tomb." 

Acts 15:29 uses the verb Stair) peco, an intensified form of Tnpeco, 
together with £k. It is clear that the apostles and elders at Jerusalem 
are asking the Christians at Antioch to stay entirely "away from" 
idolatry, blood, strangled things, and fornication. There is no indica- 
tion that the Antioch Christians were involved in these things and 
therefore to emerge from them. (Literally, of course, they could not 
be "in" idol sacrifices, blood, etc.) Much less are they instructing the 
Christians to keep or guard themselves from danger while in these 
things and then several years in the future to emerge from within 
them. 

Acts 12:7. "His chains fell off from his hands." The chains were 
not in Peter's hands to emerge from them; rather, they fell away from 
(£k) his hands. 



Many instances did not fit conveniently into a general category; however, these 
statistics are sufficient for this discussion. 



28 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Acts 27:29 does not seem to mean that the anchors were emerg- 
ing from within the stern, but that they were "out from" the stern. 

Acts 28:4 seems to mean that the snake hung "from" Paul's hand 
and does not seem to require that the snake was "in" his hand 
previously. 

2 Cor 1:10 states, "who rescued us from such a great death. ..." 
In the context it is clear that Paul refers to physical death. He was 
rescued from death rather than having emerged from death. He was 
not in it. 

1 Thess 1:10, depending on the Greek text one follows, uses and 
or ek to state, "Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath." Gundry 
apparently prefers the variant £K in this verse. 20 Earlier Gundry 
regards this verse as a reference to God's retributive wrath and states 
that the church will not suffer this wrath. 21 He clearly differentiates 
this wrath from the tribulation period. 22 However, he seems to waver 
on his view on the following pages. 23 However, if this is God's eternal 
wrath, then it is clear that the preposition has no implication of the 
believer being in God's eternal wrath and then emerging. If it is God's 
retributive wrath near the end of the tribulation, as Gundry seems to 
hold, then believers either do not suffer this wrath, as Gundry says, 
and therefore are not in it to emerge, or if they are protected in the 
midst of it as Gundry states is possible, 24 then there still is no concept 
of emergence. If the wrath refers to the tribulation period, then this is 
another verse promising rescue from that period. If one reads 8k, as 
Gundry does, rather than and with the majority text, this verse is 
against Gundry's view no matter which of the interpretations of 
"wrath" one may hold. 

1 Tim 4:17. Paul states that the Lord rescued him "out of the 
lion's mouth." He does not imply that he was actually in the lion's 
mouth and emerged, but that God kept him "from" the lions. 25 

2 Pet 2:21. This verse does not seem to imply that the persons 
were within the "holy commandment" and emerged from it, but it 
simply states that they turned "away from" it. 

However, let us get right to the issue of whether or not sk always 
implies emergence. There are two verses in the NT where ek occurs 
with Tnpeco (John 17:15; Rev 3:10). As already discussed, it is 



Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 
21 Ibid., 46. 
22 Ibid., 48-49. 

23 Ibid., 54. Although this seems to contradict other statements of Gundry regard- 
ing God's retributive wrath, it is clearly stated. 
24 Ibid., 54. 
Although a figure of speech is involved, apparently the figure builds on the 
perspective of facing lions in the arena. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 29 

linguistically improbable for a verb meaning "protect in" (as Gundry 
claims) or meaning "keep, protect, guard" (the correct view as will be 
shown) to occur with a preposition requiring emergence. As pre- 
viously shown, Gundry's analysis requires the meaning "keep in 
coming out." The more probable meaning of TT|psoo would require 
"protect, keep, guard emerging." Both of these are an impossibility. 
To sum up, the preposition £K does not always imply emergence 
from within as Gundry claims. Even if it did 99% of the time, it can 
hardly imply emergence with xr)pecD. One thing is clear: 6K does not 
mean "in," 26 and its occurrence in Rev 3:10 can only be a hindrance 
to posttribulationism. 

'Ek is the best word if the rapture is pretribulational 

Gundry also argues that and ("away from") in Rev 3:10 would 
"at least permit a /?retribulational interpretation." 27 It is clear that he 
is not going to allow even duo to require a pretribulational interpreta- 
tion. It is amazing that with two possible prepositions which would 
demand the Church's presence in the tribulation (ev, "in," 5id 
"through") Gundry allows drco ("from") at the most merely to permit 
a pretribulational view and cannot see his way clear to allow even the 
one preposition 8K (which means the opposite of "in") to require a 
pretribulational rapture. Gundry states that and would at least permit 
a pretribulational view, implying that ck in Rev 3:10 cannot even 
permit such a view. In addition he lists some other prepositions — 
£ktoc;, e^co, e^coOev, dveu, and x<*>pi<; 28 — which he feels would have 
required a pretribulational view. To state it concisely, Gundry feels 
that either £Kt6<;, e^co, e^coOev, dveu, yapic,, or possibly dno, would 
have been used by John in this verse if a pretribulational rapture were 
in view, and that £k would not (could not) be used. However, a more 
careful linguistic study shows that the opposite is true, namely, that in 
all probability John would not have used dno or the other prepo- 
sitions Gundry listed, but would use sk if he believed the rapture will 
occur prior to the tribulation period. 'Ek is the most probable choice, 
and in Rev 3:10 it can only mean what pretribulationists claim it 
means. 

Ek is better than dveu, e^co, e^coOev, ektoq, or /cop K to indicate a 
pretribulational rapture. Gundry, as stated above, feels that one of 
the prepositions dveu, e^co, e^coOev, or eKTO<; would be used to 



26 That ek means "in" could possibly be argued from one or two passages, but it is 
improbable that this is the correct meaning. 

27 Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 
28 Ibid., 58. 



30 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

indicate clearly a pretribulational rapture. However, fxveu in the NT 
means "without" in the sense of "not with," i.e., "without griping" (cf. 
Matt 10:29, 1 Pet 3:1, 4:9). It is not used to mean "without" in a 
spatial or geographical sense as would be necessary to imply removal 
or keeping away from the "hour of trial." In classical Greek, 29 
although dveu may occur with the meaning "away from," it more 
commonly means "without" as the opposite of "with," or "except." 
This seems borne out in the papyri and LXX also. It should also be 
noted that aveu occurs only four times in the NT and not at all in 
John's writings. It is contrary to its NT and Johannine usage to 
expect it to occur in Rev 3:10, if Rev 3:10 related to a pretribulational 
rapture, unless there were no other possible way to state it. The 
probable nuance of aveu if used in Rev 3:10 would be "I will keep 
you without the hour of trial . . . ," that is "I will keep you, without at 
the same time keeping the hour of trial." This seems improbable. 

Gundry also states that e£,co would require previous removal and 
asks why John did not use '££,(£> if a pretribulational rapture is in view 
in Rev 3:10. Liddell and Scott list one of the meanings for e£co as 
"out" or "out of" ("out from within") when it occurs with a verb of 
motion, 30 but they say exactly the same thing regarding ek. 31 Admit- 
tedly, ek frequently has the idea "out from within" (not always, as 
Gundry implies). However, e^co occurs 63 times in the NT 32 of which 
36 occurrences (more than half) have the idea "out from within." The 
LXX 33 shows the same usage. Of 105 occurrences at least 40 have the 
idea "out from within." We may wonder why of two words so 
overlapping in meaning Gundry insists one (ek) cannot mean pre- 
vious removal in Rev 3:10 while the other (e^co) would require it? 
Johannine usage is even clearer. John uses e^co 16 times of which only 
3 do not have the meaning "out from within." 34 Since e^co often has 
the same meaning as &K, in fact the very meaning Gundry stresses for 
ek, particularly when John uses it, there certainly is no reason why 
John would use e^co in preference to ek to indicate a pretribulational 
rapture. 

Another factor should also be mentioned. The word e£co occurs 
at least 168 times in biblical Greek; not once does it occur with a 
word indicating time. Therefore it is not surprising that it does not 

29 H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th ed., rev. by H. S. 
Jones and R. McKenzie (Oxford: Clarendon, 1940) 135. 

30 Ibid., 600. 

31 Ibid., 498. 

32 Moulton and Geden, Concordance, 348-49. 
E. Hatch and H. A. Redpath, A Concordance to the Septuagint and the other 
Greek Versions of the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-U. 
Verlagsanstalt, 1954) 501-2. 

Someone may argue that these are with verbs of motion. However, the same 
principle is true of etc. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 31 

occur in Rev 3:10. Gundry also seems to think that the concept of 
"outside" (e^co) would be the proper stress if Rev 3:10 related to a 
pretribulational rapture. However, to keep "outside of" a period of 
time is an unusual idiom in Greek or English. To "keep out of" a 
period, however, is normal usage in both languages. In English we 
could well say "I will keep you from the hot southwestern summer." 
It would be unusual to say "I will keep you outside of the hot 
summer." The emphasis is also different. Tripeco £K means to "keep 
from, to keep out of, to keep from being in," but Tripeco e^to would 
mean "I will keep you outside" stressing the location rather than 
separation. It is very unlikely that John would use e^to with xripeo to 
describe a pretribulational rapture in Rev 3:10. 

The same arguments apply to the other two words Gundry 
mentions, i.e., ektoc; and x w Pi?- 'Ektoc; means "outside," "except," or 
"besides." It does not occur with a word for time in biblical Greek. 
'Ektocj occurs seven times in the NT (five in Paul) and not at all in 
John's writings. To state that, if Rev 3:10 was pretribulational, John 
would use this word rather than etc, which occurs more than 800 
times in the NT and more than 300 times in John alone, is to go 
against the facts. The word x^P^ means "outside," "without," and is 
no more probable in this passage than the other words. Xcopk; occurs 
38 times in the NT. In every case it means "separate from" or 
"without" in the sense of lacking. John only uses it three times. There 
is no obvious reason why John would use it in Rev 3:10 rather than 

8K. 

Several additional facts should be mentioned regarding the pos- 
sible use of dveu, etjco, ecjcoGev, ektoc,, or x^Pi? m R ev 3:10. Tripeco 
does not occur with any of these prepositions in biblical literature 
(NT or LXX). Tripeco occurs with ev, eic;, eni, axpi, and 8K in the NT 
and with and, ewe;, and nepi in the LXX. 

As we have seen, two of the four prepositions in question are not 
used very often in the NT. 'Aveu occurs four times, none of which are 
Johannine. 'Ektoc; occurs seven times, none of which are Johannine. 
Xcopic; occurs 38 times. Only three times are in John's writings. Upon 
what basis Gundry proclaims that John would use these prepositions 
in Rev 3:10 if pretribulationism is intended is certainly not obvious. 

'Etjco occurs 63 times; 14 of these are Johannine. Of these 
Johannine uses, 12 have the meaning "out from within." Once again, 
why John should use this preposition rather than sk when both 
commonly mean "out from within" is not clear. Why John should 
use one of these four prepositions, none of which, as we have seen, 



35 It is less clear why e^co requires a pretribulational view when it often means "out 
from within," which is the very reason Gundry says ek cannot go with a pretribula- 
tional view. 



32 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

fits well in the context of Rev 3:10, and prefer them to a word which 
occurs over 800 times in the NT and which is used more by John than 
any other NT author, is not at all clear. Why John must use dveu, 
8^(0, e^coGev, sktoc;, or xcopiq, when they occur nowhere in the NT 
with a word for time (such as copa) is not at all clear. Why John 
should use one of these five prepositions with xripeco in Rev 3:10, 
when they do not occur with rr|pecu in biblical literature is not 
apparent. It appears that Gundry merely referred to a lexicon without 
any consideration of the actual use of these words. 

£>c is more likely than and to be used for a pretribulational view 
in Rev 3:10. Gundry argues that xripeco and in Rev 3:10 would "at 
least permit a pretribulational interpretation." 36 He feels that eK 
would not permit such a view. In other words he feels that and would 
be used if a pretribulational rapture is in view in Rev 3:10. 

Is it more likely that John would use and in this case? Is there 
such a difference between Tr]p8G0 and and iripeco sk that one preposi- 
tion, and, permits a pretribulational interpretation but the other, sk, 
excludes it? Greek grammars point out the well-recognized fact that 
by NT times the classical distinctions between and and £K were 
disappearing and that the two words "frequently overlapped" in 
meaning. 37 The two words are used somewhat interchangeably. A 
study of textual variants shows some fluctuation between £K and and, 
indicating that the scribes regarded them as interchangeable. In 
addition, when we note that "separation" is a valid meaning for 8K 
according to Greek grammarians and the standard lexicons, 38 we 
should be somewhat surprised to see such stress laid on the difference 
between and and 8K. We should expect to see some evidence showing 
such a difference. 

A thorough study indicates that either word would indicate a 
prior removal or pretribulational interpretation, but, contrary to 
Gundry's opinion, sk is the more probable to be used with a 
pretribulational view for the following reasons. 

(1) John prefers ek rather than and. Grammarians point out that 
"the greatest use of 8k" is in the Revelation, the Gospel of John, and 



Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 

C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge: Cam- 
bridge University, 1963), 71-72; A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New 
Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 3rd ed. (New York: Hodder and 
Stoughton, 1919) 569-70; J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek 
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908-63), 1.102, 237; 3.251, 259. 

38 Robertson, Historical Grammar, 597, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English 
Lexicon of the New Testament, trans, and rev. by F. W. Gingrich and F. W. Danker 
(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1979), 234-35. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 33 

1 John, that £k is used "much more widely" than in classical 
Greek, 40 and in Revelation the ratio of £k to and is 100:20. 41 A simple 
word count 42 reveals that £K occurs in the Gospel of John more than 
any other book — 165 times. The book of Revelation is next with 135 
instances, and the small book of 1 John has 34 occurrences. John's 
use of and is quite the reverse. Although and occurs 1 10 times in 
Matthew, 1 18 times in Luke, and 108 times in Acts, it occurs only 41 
times in John's gospel and a total of 96 times in all of John's writings. 
In the book of Revelation John uses sk 135 times and and only 34 
times. 43 It is clear that John prefers £K whenever it may be used, and 
does not prefer and. This preference is, in fact, a characteristic of 
John's writings. Since and and £K are similar in meaning by NT 
times, since both can mean "separation from," since both imply "not 
in," it is clear that John would prefer 8K, as in Rev 3:10, rather than 
and if he regarded the rapture as pretribulational. 

(2) The verb rripeco does not occur with the preposition and in 
the NT; 44 however, it does occur with 8K in at least one passage other 
than Rev 3:10. This occurrence is also in John's writings (John 17:15). 
There is no textual dispute over the preposition in John 17:15. This 
means that there is evidence for John's use of the expression TT|psco 
8K but none for his employment of xr|pecD and. 45 

(3) The preposition and occurs with copa seven times in the NT 
(once in John — John 19:27), but it never means to separate from the 
time, nor to emerge from the hour. Therefore, it is not likely that 
John would use and with copa in Rev 3:10 to express a pretribula- 
tional rapture as Gundry claims. 46 However, 8K does occur twice in 
the NT with copa, both in John's writings (John 12:27; Rev 3:10). In 
John 12:27 it means separate from. 47 In Rev 3:10 it means "separate 
from" or Gundry's concept of emergence. Since John does not use 
dt7t6 in a sense that would allow a pretribulational rapture, or even a 
posttribulational rapture, in Rev 3:10, but does use sk in such a way, 
it is obvious that Gundry's claim that John would use and is not 
based on the evidence. Since John does use 8K with copa in John 



39 F. Blass and A. DeBrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, trans. 
R. W. Funk (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1961) 114. 

40 Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 3.249. 

41 Ibid., 259. 

42 The numbers vary slightly, depending upon the Greek text used. 

43 Moulton nd Geden, Concordance, 1041, 1066-67. 

44 James 1:27 is not an exception, since the preposition and seems to be connected 
with &a7rilov rather than xr|peiv eauiov. 

45 Tr|pea) with either preposition is rare. The verb occurs once with and in the 
canonical LXX and once in the Apocrypha. It occurs with ek twice in the NT. 

46 Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57-58. 

47 Gundry admits this and that it does not mean emergence from within (p. 57). 



34 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

12:27 to express the idea of separation, it is much more likely that he 
would use 8K than died in Rev 3:10 if he referred to a concept based 
on a pretribulational rapture. In other words, £K in Rev 3:10 agrees 
with the pretribulational view. 

'Ek is better for the pretribulational view than other prepositions. 
Dana and Mantey list the following standard prepositions in NT 
Greek: dvd, dvxi, arco, 8id, £k, eig, ev, eici, Kaxd, uexd, 7tapd, rcepi, 
icpo, rcpog, auv, weep, and uteo. 48 Only two of these seventeen 
prepositions could possibly be used in the phrase in question in Rev 
3:10 with a meaning that would allow for a pretribulational rapture. 49 
They are dir.6 and ek. However, we have seen that it is highly 
improbable that John would use dico in such an instance. Therefore 
eK is the only preposition John was likely to use in Rev 3:10 if he 
regarded the rapture as pretribulational. On the other hand, if John 
was expressing a posttribulational view of the rapture he obviously 
could have used 5id, ei<;, ev, or Kaxd, and he also could have used 
87ii, icapd, or npoq if the meanings expressed in Dana and Mantey are 
accepted. 50 Although there are several prepositions that could be used 
to indicate a posttribulational view of the rapture explicitly, 51 none of 
which occur in Rev 3:10, eK, the only preposition likely to occur in a 
pretribulational view of Rev 3:10 is used. 

Tr/peco ek does not express emergence from the hour 

It is impossible for xripeco £K to prove a posttribulational view of 
Rev 3:10 even if ek meant "emergence from within," since this could 
occur at any time, including the very beginning of the hour (tribula- 
tion period). Gundry's statements that if we say the emergence is at 
the beginning of the hour "we render the word xr|peo) (keep or guard) 
practically meaningless," and that then "the keeping will last only for 
an instant" 52 show beyond all possibility of denial that he has 
separated xripeo) and eic into two separate components. However, as 
shown previously, such a position is impossible; therefore, if £K meant 
emergence as Gundry claims, there is every possibility that it could 



H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New 
Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1927), 99-112. 

49 The use of the so-called improper prepositions has been discussed and their use 
in this passage shown to be unlikely. 

50 According to Bauer, Greek-English Lexicon, 900, these prepositions in expres- 
sions of time would all express presence in the hour of trial. 

5I Certain improper prepositions such as evtoc,, eaco, and ueoov could conceivably 
be used to indicate presence in the hour (if we argue as Gundry does on p. 58 of his 
book); however, this is unlikely. 

"Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 35 

occur at the beginning of the period. As we have also seen, it is 
impossible for ek to mean emergence if tripeco means keep in the hour 
as Gundry claims, 53 since xripeco and Ik go together and the preposi- 
tion £K indicates the direction or sphere of the "keeping" (xr)peco). It 
should be obvious that TT|peco cannot mean "keep within" and occur 
with a preposition meaning either "out from within" or "out." It 
cannot mean either "keep within out" or "keep within out from 
within" as we have previously shown. This impossibility should reveal 
immediately that rr)peco cannot mean keep within the sphere of 
danger (hour, tribulation, period) in Rev 3:10 as Gundry claims. 
We also shall see that £K does not imply emergence when it 
occurs with rr|peco. Gundry not only erroneously isolates the two 
words rr|pe(o and 8K, but despite his long discussion, he is wrong on 
the meaning of both xripeco and ek. Although the mass of details he 
presents tends to obscure the basic issue, the error of his position on 
Rev 3:10 should be readily apparent to anyone familiar with Greek or 
English. His arguments are equivalent to someone arguing from a 
whole mass of details that grass actually turns black at night and 
missing the basic point that the lack of light is the significant factor. 
That TT|peo) cannot mean what Gundry claims is so obvious that 
those previously attempting to defend posttribulationism have not 
argued as he does, but have tried to refute Rev 3:10 in other ways. 

The meaning of Ttjpeco. Despite Gundry 's statements that Tnpeco 
means "to guard or protect in a sphere of danger," 54 it does not 
necessarily mean this. In classical Greek xripeco is used of "keeping 
back of dogs, keeping from disease." In the LXX, Prov 7:5, the verb 
TT|peco is used with and yuvaiKOt; to mean "keep or stay away from" a 
woman. The compound verb 5iair|peco is used in Acts 15:29 to mean 
"stay or keep away from idol sacrifices . . . etc." One of the most 
common uses of rr|peco in the NT is in the expression to keep God's 
Word (commandments, Jesus' word). This does not mean to protect 
it, but to "hold to," "hold," or "keep" it. Tr|peco is used in John 2:10 
("you have kept the good wine") to mean "keep, hold, hold back," in 
John 9:16 to "keep" the sabbath, in 1 Cor 7:37 "to keep his own 



"Ibid., 58. 

54 Although Gundry at first states that this is true when danger is present, he then 
states that this is always true in biblical Greek (p. 58). The above examples show that it 
is not always true. Since several references include the idea of danger, it is clear that it 
is not necessarily true even when danger is present. In addition, Gundry's statement 
that "keeping necessarily implies danger" and the "keeping is required by their presence 
in the danger" (p. 58) indicates that he is in effect making his view the universal 
meaning for the verb "keep." The examples given here are not given as an argument 
regarding the lack or presence of danger, however, but to show that TT|peio does not 
imply presence "in," but can mean "protect from." 



36 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

virgin." Paul uses it to say, "I kept myself from being a burden" 
(2 Cor 11:9), and of the angels who did not "keep" their estate. 

Tr|peco can mean "guard," or "keep," or "keep away from." To 
assume that in Rev 3:10 it refers to being in the presence of danger is 
to assume Gundry's conclusion that the church is present in the 
tribulation. However, Jesus states He will keep them from the period. 
There is no reason to assume that this means "keeping in" the sphere 
of danger. It has already been demonstrated that xr|pe(o £K cannot 
mean "guard in" or "keep in" when it is used with £K, "out." The 
concept that xr\pea> implies "presence within" is contrary to the 
evidence and the basic meaning of Tr)p£co. The verb, itself, implies 
nothing regarding the direction or sphere of keeping or protecting. 
This can only be determined from other elements in the sentence. In 
this case the sphere or direction is indicated by £K. 

Another aspect of iripeco needs to be mentioned. Tripeco is not a 
verb implying motion such as ep%ouai (come) or a'ipco (take). Verbs 
of motion occurring with 8K imply emergence, but this does not apply 
when the idea of motion is not present. Verbs which may imply 
motion, such as acb^co ("save") and puouai ("rescue"), when used with 
sk may imply either separation or emergence. Tripeco, however, has 
no such connotation of motion or direction; it merely means "keep" 
or "guard." For example, the preposition sit; normally indicates 
"motion into a thing or into its immediate vicinity." 55 However, in 
several occurrences with Ttipew (in the NT) it means "with a view to, 
unto." In Acts 25:4 it occurs with xripeco meaning "in" or "at." No 
idea of "motion into" is implied. 

Tr)p80) occurs 69 times in the NT. It never occurs with the 
implication of motion. In fact, the opposite is true of xripeco; the 
stress is on stability or maintaining a position, or standard. This large 
number of occurrences is adequate to determine the basic concept of 
tripeco. There are 38 occurrences of xripeco in the LXX (including 
apocryphal works; 27 are canonical), none of which implies motion. 
Biblical Greek, the papyri and classical Greek 56 all give the same 
testimony. Tripeco itself has no implication of motion; rather the idea 
of stability is prominent. Such ideas as to keep someone in a place 
(prison), to maintain something or a standard, to preserve, watch, 
protect, are common for xripeco (cf. Matt 27:36; Acts 12:5; 1 Pet 1:4; 
Jude 6). 

The significance of this discussion may be seen in a comparison 
with the use of ek with another verb, cupco, in John 17:15. Jesus says, 



"Bauer, Lexicon, 228. 

56 J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, A Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1930) 633 and Liddell and Scott. A Greek Lexicon, 1789. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 37 

"I do not ask that you take them out of the world." With the verb 
a'ipco, which implies motion, the preposition 8K has the idea of 
emergence. The idea of emergence does not come from 8K alone, but 
from £K with the verb a'ipco. If John, in Rev 3:10, desired to indicate 
removal from within the hour (tribulation period), then a'ipco &K 
would indicate this specifically. However, rr|peco 8K does not indicate 
motion; rather, it means "keep out of," "maintain in a position out 
of," or "preserve out of." The difference may be illustrated in English. 
"Take out of" or "take out from within the hospital" is not the same 
as "keep out of" or "keep out from within the hospital." The same 
preposition is used, which may mean emergence, but it does not mean 
emergence when used with the verb "keep." 57 The English and Greek 
terms in this instance are approximately the same. The only other use 
of Tripeco 8K in the NT occurs in John 17:15, the passage mentioned 
earlier. 

Tnpsco 8K in John 17:15. There is "one other place in biblical 
Greek" 58 where the expression Tripeco ek occurs. This should give us 
some indication of the meaning in Rev 3:10. However, here is another 
place where Gundry's arguments are logically inconsistent. He states 
that iripeto ek in John 17:15 is in "full contrast and opposition" to 
&pr\c, . . . 8K, an "exact description of what the rapture will be;" and 
therefore rr|peco sk cannot refer to the "rapture or the result of the 
rapture." 59 This sounds reasonable only if we can forget Gundry's 
conclusions on Rev 3:10, the verse in question. He has argued that 
iripeco 8K in Rev 3:10 is protection issuing in emission (rapture) at the 
final crisis of the tribulation. In other words, he argues that Tripeco 8K 
specifically describes a posttribulational rapture. When discussing 
John 17:15, however, he argues that since Tripeco 8K does not refer to 
a rapture in John 17:15, therefore, in Rev 3:10 it cannot refer to the 
rapture or result of the rapture at all. We ask: if it is impossible for 
the expression Tripeco 8K to refer to the rapture or the result of the 
rapture in Rev 3:10 as Gundry states, then how can it at the same 
time refer to a situation where "8K lays all the emphasis on emergence, 
in this verse on the final, victorious outcome of the keeping-guarding," 
that is, to the rapture as Gundry also states. 



Gundry is less than careful when he argues that such expressions as "saved from" 
the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer 30:7), which uses a verb implying motion and meaning 
"save," do not imply prior removal, therefore, ir|peco ek in Rev 3:10, an expression 
using a different verb, not implying motion, does not (p. 60). 
Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 58-59. 
59 Ibid., 59. It is clear that Gundry means xripeo) ek in Rev 3:10 since he 
differentiates it from its only other occurrence in John 17:15. 
60 Ibid., 57. 



38 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

This is enough time spent on this incredible contradiction. Let us 
look at Gundry's statement that tripeo) £k in John 17:15 is in full 
contrast and opposition to fiprji; ... ^k in the same verse. 61 He 
concludes from this that since tfprjc; £k means "take up" and would fit 
the idea of rapture, then ir|p6co £k cannot refer "to the rapture or 
result of the rapture." 

Such handling of the passage can hardly be considered exegesis 
since apr)<; £k does not oppose or contrast with tripeco £k as he 
claims. Jesus prays "I do not pray that you take them out of the 
world, but that you keep them from evil (the evil one)." The contrast 
is not between "take out" and "keep out," but between the entire 
phrase "take out of the world" and the phrase "keep from the evil 
one." How Gundry can suppose that a contrast, even as he proposes, 
is support for his view is amazing. "Take out" (6:pTi<; £k) means 
removal from the sphere in question, emergence from the world. As 
Gundry says, this will fit the rapture. On the other hand, rripeco 6K 
contrasts in that there is no idea of emergence involved; rather, the 
people are "kept from" or "kept away from" the evil one. 

That this is the most obvious meaning for rripeco £k in John 
17:15 may be seen by comparison with other verses parallel in 
meaning to John 17:15, such as Matt 6:13; Luke 11:4 (Majority Text), 
and 2 Thess 3:3. All say either "rescue" or "keep" and toO novripou. 
Gundry states that and would be the preposition used in Rev 3:10 if 
"away from" or separation in the sense of entirely away from were 
meant. These three verses use and with "the evil (one)" and therefore 
by Gundry's own admission mean separation from the evil (one), not 
emergence. 

Let us apply Gundry's interpretation of inpEO) £k in Rev 3:10 to 
the same phrase in John 17:15. This verse would then read "I do not 
ask you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them for a 
long period in evil (or the 'evil one') and at some final crisis physically 
snatch them out of it." In other words keep them in evil until the 
rapture and finally rapture them. When we realize that for Gundry 
the "keeping-guarding" in the tribulation means that only a remnant 
survive and most perish, such a meaning for John 17:15 is even more 
remote, since this would allow most to perish or succumb to the evil. 

This is a strange form of keeping or protecting from evil and 
obviously cannot be the meaning of the passage. In a context where 
the Lord refers to the hatred of the world (the disciples are viewed as 
those in "enemy territory"), he then states, "I am not asking you to 
remove them from the world, but to keep [or guard] them from the 
evil one." The evil must refer to "the evil one" or the opposition of 



'Ibid., 59. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 39 

evil in this context. If the Lord was thinking of emergence from the 
evil one or from the principle of evil, the use of aipco would make a 
perfect play on words with the preceding statement. However, he is 
not thinking of removal, but of "keeping or guarding from" the evil. 
The meaning of "evil one" seems to best fit the context. If the concept 
of sphere (the sphere of evil, the world) were in view, a natural word 
play could be obtained by contrasting "I do not ask that you take 
them out of the world" (apr\c, auxooc, £k tou koouou) with the 
statement "keep them from the world" (xripriarjc; auxouc; ek tou 
koouou). Whether or not the disciples were in "the evil one," or "the 
evil" at one time is not the issue. As has been shown, the verb iripeco 
cannot be used with ek to imply emergence since no concept of 
motion or "deliverance out of" is in view. Tr|peco ek does not refer to 
emergence from the "evil one" or the "evil" in John 17:15. The 
impossibility of xr)ps(o ek occurring with such a meaning, the contrast 
with the previous statement where emergence from the world is 
stated, the awkwardness of viewing the verse in its context in such a 
way, and the natural meaning of "separation from" in the verse all are 
against such an interpretation. 

The obvious meaning of iripea) ek in John 17:15 perfectly 
corresponds with the pretribulational view of its meaning in Rev 3:10. 
The pretribulational view does not require that xrjpEco ek refer 
directly to the rapture, something which is required by Gundry's view, 
although he also says it cannot. The pretribulational view merely 
requires that xripeto ek means "keep from," in other words, not allow 
the church to "be in" the tribulation. There is no direct statement of 
motion or emergence. This "keeping from" is accomplished by or the 
result of the rapture; it is not the rapture itself. We know that it is a 
result of the rapture from other contexts, not due to the terminology 
here. Gundry's contention that xripeco ek cannot refer to the rapture is 
no problem to other views; it makes his impossible. The preposition 
£K with the verb xr|p£to cannot imply emergence. Emergence is not in 
view in John 17:15, neither does xr)p£w imply presence in. TripEco ek 
in John 17:15, the only other NT occurrence of this expression, 
means "keep out of" or "away from" the evil, and confirms the 
findings regarding Rev 3:10. 

The inclusion of copa is significant 

If the word oSpa were omitted from Rev 3:10, the promise would 
read, "I will keep you from the trial which is coming upon the entire 
inhabited earth to try the earth dwellers." The verse would still 
support the pretribulational rapture, i.e., a keeping from an earth- 
wide tribulation. However, the inclusion of d3pa ("hour") makes it 
even clearer. 



40 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Gundry's arguments on the word are more of a smoke screen 
than a serious attempt to understand the passage. He argues that 
since time goes on in heaven the church cannot be delivered from the 
time of the tribulation. The word wpa in Rev 3:10 is not strictly 
referring to a chronological hour, however, but to a "period" or 
"time." Specifically, it refers to a "period of trial" or "time of trial" 
which is coming upon the entire inhabited earth to try those dwelling 
on the earth. Rev 3:10 says that the church is removed from a period 
of trial which occurs upon the earth, that is, not from some of the 
events, but from the entire trial or time of trial. No one has claimed 
that they are removed from chronological time, nor does anyone 
claim they are removed from, say, 1982-1989. Gundry's statements 
would mean that God could not remove anyone from a time of trial 
since time goes on in heaven. The same argument would preclude a 
direct statement "I will remove you from the tribulation period" or "I 
will remove you from the tribulation" (which by definition is a period 
of time). 

Gundry argues that Jesus did not pray for deliverance from a 
period of time when he prayed "Father save me from this hour" 
(John 12:27) since he would have gone through the time even had he 
not died. 62 Gundry further states that Jesus is asking for deliverance 
from the events within the period of time. It is certain that Jesus is 
not asking to be protected or saved through the time and events of 
the crucifixion; he asks that the event not take place. 

This verse lends no support at all for Gundry's view that tripeo 
8K wpa means that the church will be protected through the events of 
the tribulation. Jesus is speaking about a future event scheduled by 
God. He requests that this event be canceled. There was no other 
possibility of deliverance. However, it was not canceled, but occurred 
as prophesied. Neither can he be asking to be delivered by being 
resurrected after dying, since there could be no question in his mind 
regarding this. Such a concept would not fit the following phrase: 
"But for this reason I came to this hour." The entire context refers to 
his death and indicates a travail of soul. This verse parallels his 
prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus actually says, "I am troubled; should I 
pray to be excused from the cross? But this is the reason I came." He 
did not differentiate the event and the time as in Rev 3:10. The time 
and event are both included in the term "hour." 

In Rev 3:10, however, the expression is the "hour of trial. "The 
stress is on the time (period). If Jesus was promising "deliverance 
from the events" of the tribulation period, as Gundry views dSpa, 63 



2 Ibid., 60. 
'ibid. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 41 

why add a specific word for time and not just say, "I will keep you 
from the trials"? However, Gundry fails to handle the details of the 
verse. The "time of trial" is the term. The events of the time of trial 
are not equivalent only to the trials. The events of a period of time 
include all events in that period. If the word wpa ("hour") were 
omitted, the expression could refer only to the trials themselves. The 
inclusion of copa means that Jesus promised exemption from all of 
the events, that is, from the entire period of trials, not merely from 
certain events categorized as trials. Even if we use Gundry's idea that 
the events are in view, Rev 3:10 requires a keeping from all the events 
of the tribulation. There is no basis for exemption (or protection) 
only from some of the events. Whether wpa refers to a period or the 
events of a period, its inclusion is significant and precludes Gundry's 
view of Rev 3:10. 

The scope of the trial also argues against the view that the 
church will be on earth and yet somehow avoid even the events which 
are called trials. The time of trial is on the earth and on the entire 
inhabited earth. Therefore, a keeping from the trials would require 
either a cancelation of the events or a removal from the earth. 
Removal from the earth does not remove from chronological time, it 
is true, but it does remove from a period of trial which occurs on the 
earth as Rev 3:10 describes it. This use of "time" is a common idiom 
in language. Gundry as usual is less than accurate when he states, "to 
pray, say, for deliverance from a time of illness is not to ask that one 
be taken out of the world before he becomes ill, — he is already 
ill — but that the Lord should preserve and bring him safely out of the 
period of illness." 64 He fails to grasp the fact that iripeco, even by his 
own definition, does not mean "deliver," a verb which would imply 
emergence. It means "keep." If someone prays that he be "kept from 
a time" of illness, particularly when he is not yet in the time, he is not 
asking for preservation and safe delivery through it, but that it not 
take place. Neither is he asking that chronological time be canceled. 

Jesus promised in Rev 3:10 that the believers will be "kept from" 
the tribulation period. It is clear from prophecy that the events will 
not be canceled. If they were, everyone would be kept from the 
period. The only alternative, one which fits the natural idiom of 
language, is removal from the earth prior to the period of the events. 
Such a removal from the earth has not happened at other times in 
history and seems unusual. However, we know that removal of 
believers from the earth will occur at the rapture; therefore, it is not 
at all out of place to see that it fits perfectly in Rev 3:10 as the means 
of keeping believers from a time of trial upon the entire earth. 



'Ibid. 



42 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

To approach it from another aspect, in terms of Gundry's 
statement that the deliverance is not from the time but from the 
events of the period, how can the church be delivered or protected 
from the events of a time of trial which is on the entire inhabited 
earth and remain on earth? How can the church be delivered from the 
tribulation period with its awful destruction and intensity which 
destroys in some cases one-third of the earth's population at one time 
and still remain on earth? How can they be delivered from a time 
when everyone who does not worship the beast is hunted down and 
killed, and still be on earth? How can they be delivered from a time 
which is so terrible that everyone would perish unless "those days 
were cut short," and still be on earth? How can they be delivered 
from a time in which almost all believers are killed, and still be on 
earth? 

If one is given a promise to be kept from a "time of illness," he is- 
not expecting to go through it. He expects that he will not be in a 
period of time characterized as a time of illness. He is not expecting 
to be delivered from chronological time. He certainly does not expect 
to be protected in the sense of to barely survive or not even to survive 
a period of intense illness. To be "kept from the hour [dSpa] of 
tribulation" does not mean to go through it but to be kept from a 
period known as the tribulation. The "hour of trial" is a term 
describing a period of trial or tribulation. It is the same as the term 
"the tribulation period." Rev 3:10 says, "I shall keep you from the 
tribulation period." 

Whether "the events of the period" or the time of the events is 
stressed does not help Gundry's view. Jesus promises not "deliver- 
ance" from but "keeping" from the period (or the events of a period 
of time) which affects the entire earth. Gundry's strange idea of 
protection or deliverance from the events is that the church will 
experience the trials and troubles but will not be wiped out entirely. 
Is this really deliverance from the events of the tribulation period? 
Since the events will not be canceled, the only way the church can be 
delivered from the events is to be removed geographically. Since the 
events are worldwide, this requires removal from the world, i.e., 
rapture. 

God has promised to keep the church from that "hour" which 
will try the entire earth. Rapture is the obvious way, and is promised 
to the church. To be kept from the events of the tribulation period 
means from all, not from a select few. This requires removal from the 
entire period. Therefore, whether xr|peco ek . . . &pac, means "kept 
from the time" or "from the events," the result is the same. The word 
aipa does reinforce the fact that this is inclusive, that is, exclusion 
from all the events. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 43 

Gundry's conclusion is inconsistent with the promise aspect 
of Rev 3:10 and a positive purpose for the rapture 

The promise of being kept from the "hour of tribulation" is a 
promise of hope or reward. Gundry, however, has the church going 
through the tribulation period. It is exposed to most of the troubles. 
The "protection" promised according to Gundry is protection of the 
church in a corporate sense, i.e., it will not be completely eliminated. 
But neither will the unbelievers. Jesus said that he will come back and 
terminate the period; otherwise, everyone would be eliminated. 

According to Gundry, the church only misses God's wrath at the 
precise end of the tribulation. But the Bible pictures the tribulation 
period as the greatest time of trouble on the earth. The book of 
Revelation indicates that believers will be specially tried and suffer. 
To promise that "I will keep you" in the sense that you will suffer 
terribly, more than other generations of believers and most will be 
killed, but that I will keep a remnant, seems hollow. This seems 
particularly so if the "kept" remnant is raptured along with the dead 
saints right before the hoped-for millennium. What can be the 
purpose for keeping a remnant alive through the tribulation so that 
some of the church survive and then take them out of their situation 
and make them the same as those who did not survive? Why keep 
them for this? Gundry's explanation, that they provide an escort for 
Jesus, does not hold up. Raptured living saints will be exactly the 
same as resurrected dead saints. Why cannot the dead believers fulfill 
this purpose? Why keep a remnant alive, then rapture them and 
accomplish no more than by letting them die? There is no purpose or 
accomplishment in a rapture such as Gundry's view promotes. 

With all of the saints of all the ages past and the armies in 
heaven available as escorts and the fact that translated saints provide 
no different escort than if they had been killed, why permit the 
church to suffer immensely, most believers be killed, and spare a few 
for a rapture which has no apparent purpose, immediately before the 
period ends? Gundry even calls this a "victorious" emergence. This 
emergence comes just before the end of the tribulation and just before 
the long-awaited millennial kingdom is set up, where peace and 
righteousness reign, where sickness, etc., are less, and where all know 
of the Lord. Is this the promise? You will suffer, be killed, but I will 
keep a few alive, and take them out just before the good times come. 
Such reasoning, of course, calls for some explanation of the apparent 
lack of purpose for a posttribulational rapture of any sort. 

We can note the following: 

(1) An unusual, portentious, one-time event such as the rapture 
must have a specific purpose. God has purposes for his 



44 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

actions. This purpose must be one that can be accomplished 
only by such an unusual event as a rapture of living saints. 

(2) This purpose must agree with God's general principles of 
operation. 

(3) There is little or no apparent reason to rapture believers 
when the Lord returns and just prior to setting up the long- 
awaited kingdom with all of its joyful prospects. 

(4) There is good reason to deliver all who are already believers 
from the tribulation, where they would be special targets of 
persecution. 

(5) To deliver from a period of universal trial and physical 
destruction such as the tribulation requires a removal from 
the earth by death or rapture. Death is not appropriate as 
a promise in Rev 3:10. 

(6) Deliverance from the tribulation before it starts agrees with 
God's previous dealings with Noah and Lot and is directly 
stated as a principle of God's action toward believers in 
2 Pet 2:9 (see discussion below). 

The immediate context begins in v 4. The entire section is 
support for Peter's statement that judgment is certain for false 
teachers. The reason is stated as a condition. The conditional state- 
ment (protasis) begins in v 4 and states, in effect, "if God did not 
spare the angels who sinned but cast them into hell, and did not spare 
the ancient world but delivered Noah ((piAdooco) when he brought 
the flood on the world of the ungodly, and burned up Sodom and 
Gomorrah and rescued (puouai) Lot. . . . M (then follows the con- 
clusion, apodosis), "then the Lord knows to rescue the godly out of 
trial" (etc 7reipaa(io0). 

Several things should be noted. (1) Peter states v 9 as a general 
principle derived from God's past actions. It is clear from God's 
actions in the past (angels, Noah, Lot, etc.) that this principle follows; 
he knows to deliver the godly from trial. (2) The word Peter uses in 
v 9 is Tteipaauou, the same word which occurs in Rev 3:10. (3) Since 
this principle is derived from the past examples of deliverance stated 
in vv 4-8, it is clear that "trial," TreipaouoO, does not mean everyday, 
routine trials. The trials described are the universal flood and the 
destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The flood was a judgment of 
God on the entire world. It was a physical judgment, not eternal 
judgment. This parallels the tribulation period and is described by the 
same term (neipaauoO). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is 
a physical judgment from God on the ungodly. The statement that 
God knows to deliver from "trial," JieipaouoO, must mean from times 
of physical trial intended for the ungodly, a description which fits the 
tribulation period. (4) Neither Noah nor Lot went through the trial as 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 45 

did the ungodly. They did not suffer from the trial. Lot was removed 
from Sodom and Gomorrah (nsipaauoO) before the destruction, not 
after it started. He did not remain in Sodom under some miraculous 
protection of God. 65 Noah was in the ark before the flood started. He 
did not remain somehow to be protected miraculously through the 
flood. Both Noah and Lot were spared the "trial." Both were warned 
ahead of time. 

Gundry attempts to avoid the significance of this verse. He states 
that "Noah went through and emerged from the flood." 66 But Noah 
did not swim in the waters for a time and eventually emerge by being 
fished out. Noah was placed in a physical, geographical place of 
safety. This is not significantly different from the church being in the 
air with the Lord and possibly over the earth during the tribulation 
period. The key to the comparison is not solved by such arguments, 
however. The issue boils down to one simple question. Did Noah 
remain in the same situation and suffer the same experiences and 
trials as the ungodly? The answer is clearly no. Before the trial (flood) 
he was physically delivered from among the ungodly and the trial 
coming upon them. All of those with Noah survived. Gundry states 
that Lot's rescue was "not removal, but sheltered protection." 67 Such 
an obviously incorrect statement is suggested by the feeble argument 
that Lot "remained within the sphere of judgment in the cities of the 
plain while the fire and brimstone fell." 68 But the point of the entire 
story of Lot is that God removed him from Sodom and Gomorrah 
before he destroyed (judged) the cities. 69 He did not keep him in the 
cities and protect him from the fire. Lot did not experience the trials 
that came on the ungodly. Lot was removed from Sodom. God 
expressly stated that he could not destroy the cities until Lot was 
safely in Zoar (Gen 19:22). Gen 19:29 says explicitly that God sent 
Lot "out of the midst of the overthrow" when he destroyed the cities. 

Gundry's argument here seem strange since he argues that Noah 
and Lot were not kept from the trials (TreipaauoO). However, it is 
clear from the OT passages that the destruction of Sodom and 
Gomorrah and the flood were incidents of God's wrath or retributive 

"ibid., 62. 

66 Ibid. 

"Ibid. 

68 Ibid. 

69 To argue that ek in 2 Pet 2:9 means emergence (Ibid., 55) completely disregards 
the biblical account which goes to great lengths to show that God would not allow any 
wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah until "after" Lot was removed. To argue that he was 
in the "sphere of judgment in the cities of the plain" (p. 62) is not only innocuous, but 
merely points out that Lot was removed from the place of judgment prior to the 
judgment. When the judgment is on the entire earth this requires removal from the 
earth. 



46 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

justice. Since Gundry argues elsewhere that believers will not ex- 
perience God's wrath, why insist in these cases that they did? Accord- 
ing to Gundry 's own statement, believers are not to experience God's 
wrath at all. The expression 8K Tteipaauoo f3iJea9ai (2 Pet 2:9) must 
mean complete separation according to his statements elsewhere. As 
we have seen, it does mean that in the case of Noah and Lot. This 
passage then teaches that God delivers the godly £K TteipaouoO and 
the ungodly are kept for judgment. Since Gundry argues that believers 
escape divine wrath, he should accept this with no reservation. Why 
then does he argue against it and contradict himself? This verse is no 
problem to him if he can maintain his completely artificial distinction 
between satanic and divine wrath in the tribulation period. 

This verse states that 8K rceipaauoC means complete separation 
rather than emergence. Therefore, the expression in Rev 3:10 can also 
mean the same. There is no more reason to differentiate satanic and, 
divine wrath in the tribulation period than there is to differentiate the 
two in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the flood. Unless 
this distinction can be maintained, however, then 2 Pet 2:9 teaches 
that God removes believers from a physical judgment upon earth 
before the judgment. 

There is no support in these examples nor in the general principle 
based on them (2 Pet 2:9) for a strange protection through the trial 
(rceipaauoO), such as Gundry's concept, which is a protection which 
does not protect but keeps a corporate body from complete annihila- 
tion. If Noah experienced this type of protection, he would have had 
to swim through most of the flood and possibly drown with most of 
his family, but be "protected" in the sense that God would bring one 
of the eight safely through. This type of protection would have Lot 
burned severely but surviving. 

Neither is there support in these examples and the general 
principle derived from them for some kind of protection while 
undergoing the same events and trials as the ungodly. 

The general principle derived from these examples and stated as 
a principle is that God physically removes believers from among the 
ungodly before he brings such extraordinary physical judgment on 
the ungodly. The believers do not experience the trial. To sum up: it 
is a general principle of God's actions to remove believers from 
among the ungodly before he physically brings unusual divine wrath 
or judgment which is intended for the ungodly. A pretribulational 
rapture fits God's way of dealing with believers. Rev 3:10 is not only 
clear, but coincides with God's way of doing things. Any other time 
for the rapture does not. 70 

70 To argue that since believers are in the tribulation period this principle does not 
hold true is to miss the point that all believers are removed prior to the tribulation; 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 47 

Conclusion 

Gundry's idea of protection amounts to none at all. But what can 
the promise of hope in Rev 3:10 mean if it is posttribulational? It is 
clear that saints in the tribulation period are not protected, but suffer 
intensely. Neither is there any apparent purpose for a rapture if it is 
posttribulational. Why not let the living saints go on into the millen- 
nium and die normal deaths as those of other ages? 

Posttribulationism does not fit Rev 3:10 or 2 Pet 2:9 and it is not 
logical. 71 

CONCLUSION 

Gundry's view of Rev 3:10 obviously is impossible. The verb 
iripeco cannot imply "in" when used with the preposition 8K meaning 
"out." 'Ek does not necessarily imply emergence, and when used with 
tripeto, a verb which has no indication of motion, it cannot. The 
expression xripeto £K can only mean "keep from," in the sense of 
"separate from." The inclusion of the expression "hour of trial which 
is to come upon the entire inhabited earth" has been shown to require 
removal or rapture rather than "keeping" in the sense of protection 
on the earth. The fact that "protection" of the saints on earth is 
contrary to the description of what happens to believers during the 
tribulation period precludes the idea of protection within the period. 
That Rev 3:10 is a promise of reward in the sense of deliverance also 
precludes the concept that Rev 3:10 means most saints will suffer 
intensely, worse than ever before, but a few will survive. 



however, the effects of the period do result in some being saved during that time but 
after the rapture has occurred. 

7 'Some have recognized the force of the Greek more accurately than Gundry and 
tried to argue that passages such as Gal 1:4 use ek with an expression of time when the 
believers are still in the time of trial (e.g., G. E. Ladd, The Blessed Hope [Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956] 85). Gal 1:4 states: "Who gave Himself for our sins in order 
to deliver us (z^zkryiai fjufii; ek toC aiSvoq) out of the present evil age." Several things 
should be noted regarding Gal 1:4. The verb "deliver" is used rather than "keep." 
Furthermore, the expression does not describe protection or presence within as 
claimed. It is also unlikely that Christ died for the purpose of protecting us during the 
present. He died to save from sins in the eternal sense. To take it as the purpose of 
"protecting us from this evil age" at present would require a highly figurative view since 
saints are not kept from sin or from the evils of this world in a literal sense. One 
possibility is that Gal 1:4 refers to Christ's ultimate purpose to deliver believers from 
the age in the eschatological sense, a common view of this verse. But this would mean 
physical "deliverance out" and would, therefore, not be an example of ek with a time 
expression describing presence in the time. It could mean emergence, but with xr|pE(o in 
Rev 3:10 rather than the verb in Gal 1:4 emergence is not probable. Another possibility 
is to regard Gal 1:4 as figurative, but then the figure still refers to the figure of actual 
deliverance from or out of rather than "presence in." 



48 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The idea that tripeco sk in Rev 3:10 indicates protection or 
preservation in the hour of trial has been shown as highly im- 
probable, even impossible. Some have argued that it refers to a 
figurative rather than actual keeping. But what kind of promise is a 
figurative deliverance from literal trials which does not literally 
deliver at all? In addition, there is no evidence for taking this as a 
figure. Nothing in the surrounding context is figurative; all of it is 
very literal, i.e., the wrath, the people, the prophesied time, etc. The 
events are prophesied facts. The promise of deliverance must rest on a 
literal deliverance or it is not a promise. A deliverance from the entire 
earth might seem figurative, except for the fact that such a literal 
deliverance is promised in the time frame of the events described in 
Rev 3:10. There is no reason to regard the promise as a figure and, in 
effect, a figurative promise would be no promise at all when the 
literal fact (intense persecution) is clearly prophesied to be contrary to 
a figurative deliverance during the period. 

This lengthy discussion involves Gundry's handling of only one 
verse, Rev 3:10. To point out the numerous similar discrepancies and 
non sequitur nature of his book would take many pages and be 
relatively not worth the effort. It is hoped that readers may pay 
attention to the details and note the obvious discrepancies, for 
example, the statements on pp. 57 and 58 of Gundry's book arguing 
that TT|pe(o and £K imply immediate presence of danger. The words 
may often be used in such a context, but the words themselves imply 
nothing regarding proximity of danger. Some languages such as 
Kiowa, which developed in a hunting, warlike culture, have words 
meaning "to hear something near" and another word meaning "to 
hear something far away," but there is no such implication in xripeo) 
and 6K in the Greek language. Such statements by Gundry may seem 
scholarly to a novice, but are completely empty of evidential value to 
someone familiar with language. Gundry's arguments explaining why 
the preposition Sid, the obvious choice if a posttribulational rapture 
is in view, is not used 72 are not arguments at all. 73 They are merely a 
series of dogmatic pronouncements without argumentation. They are 
based on his impossible, self -contradictory meaning for rr|pea) 8K. He 
argues that 8id would distribute the emphasis throughout the period. 
What is wrong with this? As we have seen, it is impossible to 
emphasize two separate actions with iripeco &K, as he does. Therefore 
iripeo) with a preposition must put the emphasis on one aspect or the 



Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 57-58. 
73 In an unpublished "Open letter to John F. Walvoord," Gundry regards this as 
dealing "thoroughly" with the issue. However, he does not "deal" with it at all. 



EDGAR: GUNDRY AND REV 3:10 49 

other. For posttribulationalism, the obvious place to emphasize pro- 
tection is through (5id) the period. It cannot be emphasizing protec- 
tion out or emerging (sk). 

A further word of caution is in order. Gundry has not merely 
argued for a chronological change of the rapture of seven years with 
other issues remaining the same. To uphold his view Gundry has been 
forced to regard Matthew 25 as a reference to the eternal kingdom 
rather than the millennium. What does this do to other passages such 
as Matthew 13? He has also reinterpreted other passages. A different 
position regarding the rapture affects many passages. His "exegesis" 
affects even more. Any attempt to refute a clear biblical statement, 
such as Rev 3:10, will of course require dubious exegesis. 



THE SHEEP MERCHANTS 
OF ZECHARIAH 11 

Thomas J. Finley 



The MT of Zech 11:7 has a phrase which has been translated 
"hence the afflicted of the flock" (N A SB). A nearly identical sequence 
of consonants occurs in v 11 and has been read, "thus the afflicted of 
the flock. " A survey of the versions and various interpretations shows 
a great deal of confusion over what the Hebrew actually meant. 
Further analysis reveals that the grammatical structure of both 
passages is unique in Hebrew. Therefore, an examination is made of a 
variant in the LXX which points to the phrase, "sheep merchants, " in 
both passages. It is shown how the LXX gives the more difficult 
reading. Finally, analysis of the context shows that the LXX reading 
fits better than that of the MT. 



Zechariah 1 1 is one of the more difficult passages of a some- 
times enigmatic book. The chapter has been challenging to many 
because of its high demands on the interpreter's abilities in hermeneu- 
tics, language skills, and command of other prophetic passages. 
Modern commentators have even found a knowledge of Sumerian 
literature helpful for a new insight on the familiar "thirty shekels of 
silver." 1 

No less help has been found through the ancient versions. The 
debate still rages concerning the Greek and Syriac translations of the 
Hebrew term *12P, 2 but a more far-reaching issue which involves the 
versions is the phrase |'X2tt '»33f ]?V in v 7 and JN2fn "W |D in v 11. 



The phrase occurs in the Sumerian "The Curse of Agade" as a sign of contempt 
(ANET [3rd ed.; Princeton: Princeton University, 1969] 648, line 104). See E. Reiner, 
"Thirty Pieces of Silver," Essays in Memory of E. A. Speiser (ed. W. W. Hallo; AOS 53; 
New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1968) 186-90. 

2 For a good summary of the three main views with reference to other literature see 
Joyce Baldwin, Haggai. Zechariah, Malachi (Tyndale OT Commentaries; Downers 
Grove, IL: Inter- Varsity, 1972) 185-86. 



52 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

There are two conflicting interpretations of these phrases which may 
be illustrated by the New American Standard Bible (NASB) rendition 
compared with that of the RSV: 

NASB: v 7— "hence the afflicted of the flock" 

v 11— "thus the afflicted of the flock" 

RSV: v 7 — "for those who trafficked in the sheep" 

v 11 — "the traffickers in the sheep" 

The RSV interpretation is listed in the margin of the NASB as 
"another reading." 

Obviously, the two renderings are widely divergent. In the one 
case the flock itself is being discussed, while in the other the subject is 
those who control the flock through merchandising. Surely a correct 
interpretation of the passage must hinge on the right decision about 
this issue. 

Actually, the difference between the readings depends on a 
variant found only in the LXX. The Greek translator, apparently 
baffled by the Hebrew, simply transliterated the crucial portions: 

v 7 — elc, ttjv Xavaavixiv ("for the Canaanites") 
v 11 — oi Xavavatoi td npofiaxa ("the Canaanites [shall know] 
the sheep"). 3 

If the words of the MT are divided differently, it is possible to derive 
the LXX reading: 

v 7— (|xxn) wayaaV 

v 11— |XXn "3M3 

The crucial point for the RSV interpretation (adopted also by 
the NEV and the JB, among others) is that the term "Canaanite" can 
bear the meaning "merchant." The BDB lexicon lists the meaning 
"merchant" under both jy33 (Ezek 16:29; 17:4; Zeph 1:11) and *3JH3 
(Prov 31:24; Zech 14:21). The development is explained, "because 
Canaanites, esp. Phoenicians, were traders." A. Haldar, writing on 
"Canaanites" in the IDB, adds Isa 23:8 and Hos 12:8 (Eng. v 7). 
Additionally, he cites the inscription of Amenophis II, which contains 
the expression kyn'n.w in close connection with the maryana, "the 
Hurrian military aristocracy." Haldar concludes, "If kny'n.w is the 



There is some variation within the Greek manuscripts. See the edition by J. Ziegler 
for details (Septuaginta [vol. 13; Duodecim prophetae; 2d ed.; Gottingen: Vandenhoeck 
& Ruprecht, 1967] 315-16). 

4 BDB (reprinted; Oxford: Clarendon, 1975) 488. 



finley: sheep merchants 53 

designation of a social group, it would most likely be the class of 
merchants." 5 

Many recent commentators adopt the LXX reading and interpret 
the term "Canaanite" as "merchant." Rudolph notes that the MT is 
"meaningless," as a comparison with the Syriac, Vg, and possibly the 
Targum shows, and that the Greek points to the correct solution. He 
explains the development of the MT form as due to the negative 
attitude toward the "Canaanite" in Zech 14:21. 6 According to Joyce 
Baldwin, the reading "has found general acceptance." 

Yet there are some moderns who still prefer the MT. Among 
them are Feinberg, 8 Unger, 9 and Leupold. 10 Unger has the strongest 
statement against the LXX reading: "But this reading, besides being 
linguistically weak, glibly avoiding a difficult but correct reading, is 
colorless in its meaning. . . ."" 

The issue is still open and a detailed examination of the problem 
is imperative. In what follows I hope to raise some important issues 
that to my knowledge have not been considered previously and to 
discuss the different implications of the two readings. 



Of first consideration is the MT. Can the passage in question be 
interpreted in a manner which is exegetically sound? Is the judgment 
of David Baron true? "But the Hebrew text in this place [11:7 
specifically though later applied to 11:11] needs no emendation or 
alteration when properly understood." 12 Two lines of evidence will be 
examined. First, what are the various ways in which the verses have 
been interpreted? Second, is the reading of the MT grammatically 
feasible? 

The poor of the flock 

The expression which is common to both passages, jX^H ,s 357, is 
the easiest to explain. Wherever the MT has been followed, the 
phrase has been taken to mean "the poor (ones) of the flock." The 



5 Vol. 1 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1962) 494. 

6 W. Rudolph, Haggai—Sacharja l-8—Sacharja 9-14—Maleachi (K.AT 13:4; 
Gutersloh: Gutersloher Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1976) 202. 

I Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, 180. 

*God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (3rd ed.; Portland: Multnomah, 1977) 
204-5. 

9 Zechariah: .Prophet of Messiah's Glory (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1963) 194. 
^Exposition of Zechariah (Columbus: Wartburg, 1956) 210. 

II Zechariah, 194. 

12 The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah (London: Morgan & Scott, 1919) 
391, n. 2. 



54 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

only controversy is whether the entire flock or only a portion of it is 
meant. According to the former view, the use of the adjective in 
construct is for the superlative. 13 Wright translates "the most miser- 
able flock" and says, "It is a description not merely of a certain 
portion of the sheep, but of the flock in general." 14 The Targum on 
v 1 1 points toward the other interpretation: "And they knew, so the 
humble ones, the poor of the people who had done my will, that it 
was the word of the lord." 15 A note in The New Scofield Reference 
Bible gives a similar interpretation: 

(11:11) The "poor of the flock" i.e. the "remnant according to the 
election of grace" (Rom. 1 1:5), are those Jews who did not wait for the 
manifestation of Christ in glory but believed on Him at His first 
coming and subsequently. Of them it is said that they "waited upon 
me," and "knew." 16 

In other words, the flock as a whole rejected the shepherd's ministry, 
but "the poor (ones) of the flock" accepted him. 

It is not necessary to decide the issue here. What is important, 
however, is that the main part of the phrase in question in both verses 
has a meaning which is obvious to anyone familiar with Hebrew. Yet, 
the very naturalness of the expression could be deceptive. The easy 
translation of "[N^H ^N could obscure any difficulty with the con- 
junctions pV and p which are used. 

The particle ]D^ 

First we will treat pV of v 7. At least four different interpreta- 
tions have been given. These may be classified as asseverative, 
conjunctive, prepositional, and pronominal. The asseverative inter- 
pretation is known from David Kimchi's commentary, which was 
written about 1300. Kimchi comments: ""And I will feed truly the 
poor of the flocks p!?— In truth the poor of the flock I found them, 
when I took them to feed." 17 Henderson, a commentator of the last 
century, adopts this view also. He takes the b as being "redundant" 
and derives p from the Arabic kwn ("to be"), which "implies reality, 



13 See GKC (2d Eng. ed.; Oxford: Clarendon, 1910) §133g, h. 

14 C. H. H. Wright, Zechahah and His Prophecies (London: Hodderand Stoughton, 
1879; reprinted, Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, 1980) 325. 

15 My translation from A. Sperber (ed.), The Bible in Aramaic (vol. 3, The Latter 
Prophets according to Targum Jonathon; Leiden: Brill, 1962). 

16 New York: Oxford University, 1967. 

17 A. M'Caul (translator), Rabbi David / 
of Zechariah (London: James Duncan, 1837) 121, 



finley: sheep merchants 55 

certainty, or the like, but admits of being variously rendered, accord- 
ing to the context in which it is found." 18 Taken with the 7 the 
meaning would be "with respect to truth, i.e., truly." 19 The KB 
lexicon gives the meaning fiirwahr or wohlan ("truly," "in truth") for 
p 1 ? in Judg 8:7 and 1 Sam 28:2. A cross reference listed in KB 
suggests a connection with a possible, though "sehr fraglich," affirma- 
tive K7. 20 The BDB lexicon connects these passages with an idiom "in 
conversation, in reply to an objection, to state the ground upon which 
the answer is made." 21 Additional examples cited are Gen 4:15; 30:15; 
Judg 1 1:8; 1 Kgs 22:19; and Job 20:2. None of these examples have a 
structure which is similar to Zech 11:7. Wright may be too strong 
when he says that the word pV "never elsewhere" has the meaning 
"truly," 22 but the usage would be unique for a passage with the 
overall structure of Zech 11:7. 

Another explanation takes ]2J as a conjunction which intro- 
duces a closer specification of the "flock of slaughter." It is reflected 
in the NASB translation: "So I pastured the flock doomed to 
slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock." Wright describes the 
reason for the use of p 1 ?: "The latter designation [JN3Jn , *3i7] 
expresses that which is a logical deduction from the very name just 
given to them, ruin ]NX~nX; for because they were 'a flock of 
slaughter,' 'slaughtered' and not 'fed' by their shepherds, therefore 
they were 'the most miserable flock.'" 23 

Jerome's Vg takes p7 as a conjunction which evidently refers 
back to vv 5 and 6. Then the "poor of the flock" is rendered as a 
vocative: et pascam pecus occisionis propter hoc o pauperes gregis. 4 
The thought is, "and I will pasture the flock of slaughter; on account 
of this [that is, on account of the wretched conditions described in 
vv 5 and 6] O poor ones of the flock." Such a use of conjunctive p7 
would be without precedent. 

A factor which has been overlooked by many is the syntactic 
structure of the first half of v 7. If pV is a conjunction, then it joins a 
clause with a verb to a construct noun phrase. A check of Mandel- 
kern's concordance 25 convinced me that such a case would be unique. 

18 E. Henderson, The Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets (London: Hamilton, 
Adams, and Co., 1845) 421. 

''Henderson, The Twelve, 421. 

20 Pp. 466, 482. 

21 P. 487. 

12 Zechariah, 578. 

23 Ibid. See also Feinberg, God Remembers, 204. 

24 Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Versionem (ed. R. Weber and others; vol. 2; 
Stuttgart: Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, 1969). 

25 S. Mandelkern, Veteris Testamenti Concordantiae; Hebraicae atque Chaldaicae 
(revised by F. Margolis; Tel Aviv: Schocken, 1977; [reprint of 1925 edition]). 



56 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The verses that Keil cites as parallels for his rendering "therewith" 
(Isa 26:14; 61:7; Jer 2:33) 26 are not really parallel syntactically. The 
closest comparison I could find is the frequent expression DX3 p/ 
mn\ The term DX3 is a noun ("utterance"), but the quotation of 
Yahweh which follows is to be taken as the predicate. Another 
possibility is to take 11:7 as elliptical: "therefore (I fed) the poor of 
the flock." But there are no other examples of pV introducing a 
clause with ellipsis of a verb (or of a nominal predicate). 

A third way in which p 1 ? has been translated in v 7 is as a 
preposition. The particle p 1 ? cannot be used as a preposition, but 
despite this the Peshitta translated: "And I shepherded the small flock 
for the sake of [metul] the assembly of the flock." 27 The form metul 
is usually combined with a demonstrative or the particle de when it 
translates pV. 

Some editions of the Rabbinic Bible have a notation in the 
Masora parva that pV is a feminine word (H3p3 p^*?). 28 The nota- 
tion is not in the manuscript which is the basis for BHS. According to 
this interpretation the term is not a conjunction but the preposition b 
with a second feminine plural suffix. The result is that "the poor of 
the flock" are addressed directly (as also in the Vg). The KJV 
apparently followed a similar tradition: "And I will feed the flock of 
slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock." This translation ignores the 
preposition completely, however. There is also a grammatical prob- 
lem with this view. The vocative noun is a construct phrase of which 
the governing noun is masculine plural. Therefore there would not be 
proper agreement with pV as preposition plus feminine pronominal 
suffix. 

The particle p 

The various translations that have been given of v 7 suggest a 
certain amount of confusion. For v 11 the possibilities are more 
limited. The particle p can mean only "so" or "thus" in the present 
context. It connects the act of breaking the first staff with the 
realization that there was some relationship to "the word of the 
lord." The Syriac does not translate p; otherwise there is no hint of 
any difficulty that the versions (other than the LXX) had with the 
passage. Perhaps the unusual word order and the possibility for the 



Minor Prophets (Commentary on the OT in 10 Volumes by C. F. Keil and 
F. Delitzsch, 10; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973 [reprint]) 361. 

My translation from The Old Testament in Syriac According to the Peshitta 
Version (Part 3, fasc. 4, Dodekapropheton — Daniel — Bel-Draco; Leiden: Brill, 1980). 
28 For example, mVVTl mXlpO (vol. 10, "IUW '"in "?XpTrP; New York: Pardes, 
1951). 



finley: sheep merchants 57 

conjunction w to function in the same sense as Hebrew |3 led the 
translator of the Syriac to omit any equivalent rendering. 

It is the unusual word order (the Hebrew is literally, "and they 
knew, thus the poor of the flock") that is, however, crucial to the 
problem. The term ]3 can function in one of two ways. It may serve 
as a constituent of a clause, usually as the object. An example is a 
clause of the type: }3 2pT &3W ("and Jacob did so." [Gen 39:28]). 
This cannot be the function of ]3 in Zech 11:11. If it were, the 
objective clause which follows ("that it was the word of Yahweh") 
would have to clarify the content of |3: "And they knew so, that it 
was the word of Yahweh." 29 However, in this usage of |3, the particle 
refers back to something mentioned or implied previously in the 
context, not forward. In some cases the reference can be both 
backward and forward, but never forward only (see Isa 20:2; 
Ezek 12:7). 

The second function of |3 is as a conjunction meaning "so" or 
"thus." But wherever ]3 has this function it is always the first word in 
the clause, though it may be preceded by the conjunction 1. In other 
words, the structure of }3 15Tp points to the meaning of |3 as an 
object, not as a conjunction. 

Only two passages might be interpreted as exceptions to this 
pattern, and both have the verb "to be" as the predicte. They are 
Exod 10:10 and Amos 5:14, and in both cases the NASB translated 
]3 as a conjunction introducing the verb which it follows: 

Exod 10:10 Dp?3y miT ]3 *rP 

Thus may the lord be with you. 
Amos 5:14 Orn&X "IttfrO D3nX . . . miT p^rn 

And thus may the lord ... be with you, Just as 

you have said! 

An alternate translation of Exod 10:10 is given by Keil and 
Delitzsch, "Be it so; Jehovah be with you. . . ." 30 In this case |3 
functions as a clause constituent and points back to Moses' statement 
in v 9. The vacillation on the part of Pharaoh then becomes clear. 
First, he tells Moses to go and worship Yahweh, but he wants to 
know who will be going. Moses then says that everyone will go. To 
this Pharaoh at first assents ("Be it so"), but on reflection he changes 
his mind ("Not so[!] Go then, you men, and serve Jehovah"). 



29 Cf. the reading by W. H. Lowe, "And they knew that it was so [viz.] that, &c." 
(77?? Hebrew Student's Commentary on Zechariah [London: MacMillan, 1882] 100). 

i0 The Pentateuch (Commentary on the OT in Ten Volumes, 1; Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1973 [reprint]) 494-95. 

31 Keil and Delitzsch, The Pentateuch, 495; translation theirs. 



58 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Similar constructions with the verb HTl are frequent (Gen 1:7, 9, 11, 
15, 24, 30; Exod 10:14; Judg 6:38; 2 Kgs 7:20; 15:12; 2 Chr 1:12). The 
Vg is similar to the NASB rendering (sic Dominus sit vobiscum), 
while the LXX and Syriac translate in the same manner as Keil and 
Delitzsch. The latter translation seems superior because it makes a 
better connection with v 9 and because it follows the normal word 
order rule. 

Amos 5: 14 has been translated in two ways which differ from the 
NASB. The NEB and JB take p as an adverb: 

NEB: that the lord . . . may be firmly on your side. 

JB: and that Yahweh . . . may really be with you. 

Such a rendering finds some support from the KB lexicon, which 
classifies p into two entries, one of which can have the meanings 
"fest dastehend," "richtig," or "wahr." Against it is the 1^X3 which 
follows, implying "so . . . just as you say." 

Wolff interprets the portion ODflN . . . mil' as a direct 
quotation of a saying of assurance used in battle. His rendering of the 
entire verse is as follows: "Seek good, and not evil, that you may stay 
alive and (that) it may be so — 'Yahweh [God of Hosts] is with 
you!' — just as you say." 32 Grammatically and contextually his sugges- 
tion makes good sense. 

No certain examples of p as a conjunction with the verb before 
it occur in Biblical Hebrew. The construction p 117TT most naturally 
means "and they knew thus," not "and thus they knew." The MT of 
Zech 11:7 has a reading which is difficult to interpret and which 
would be grammatically unique. At 11:11 a reading which contains 
the very same consonants save the initial V is also unique in its 
grammatical stucture. Surely there is justification for looking to the 
LXX reading for any help it might offer. 



For |N2fn "W pV in v 7 the Greek has sic, xr\v Xavaavmv. The 
translator was obviously baffled by the text. The expression "into the 
Canaanite (land)" presupposes a text with p joined to the following 
word. The omission of |X2fn may be due to the translator's lack of 
understanding of the term "Canaanite." It was inconceivable to him 
that the shepherd would have done his work "for the Canaanites of 
the sheep." So he saw a place-name instead. Later hands made the 
reference to the "land" of Canaan more explicit by the addition of the 



32 H. W. Wolff, Joel and Amos (Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977) 231. The 
square brackets are his as he takes the expression "God of Hosts" as a later addition. 



finley: sheep merchants 59 

word yr|v. The LXX translators were not familiar with the inter- 
pretation "merchant" for ]373D. For all of the references listed above 
in this connection the translator either ignored the term (Isa 23:8; 
Ezek 16:29) or transliterated. In one passage (Job 40:30 [Eng. 41:6]) it 
was interpreted as "Phoenicians" (Ooivuccov). 

In v 1 1 people are clearly in view, so the Greek translator used 
the term Xavavaioi ("Canaanites"), reflecting a Vorlage of ,, 3y3D. 33 
But once again the odious "Canaanites of the flock" was avoided: 
"And the Canaanites shall know the guarded flock, because it is the 
word of the Lord." In order to arrive at this reading it was necessary 
to delete 'HX ("me") and read a construct form as absolute. Possibly 
'HX was read as HX for the direct object, though the word order 
would be entirely against it. 

T. Jansma suggested that the Greek Vorlage might have been 
written with a continuous script with no final letters. 34 That the script 
had no final forms seems possible, but it is unlikely that it was 
without word divisions. Word dividers are attested already in Ugaritic 
texts, and various means of word division are attested throughout the 
history of Northwest Semitic writing. For some inscriptions, such as 
those of Sefire, 35 continuous script was used. But a Hebrew Biblical 
manuscript of the second or third century B.C. would surely have had 
some form of word division. The Qumran texts contain extra space 
between words. 

If there was liberty to divide the words it is unlikely that the 
Greek translator would have had such difficulty with the text. It is 
often stated that the more difficult textual variant is to be preferred. 
Unger implies that this rule supports the MT, 36 but the opposite is 
true. Zech 14:21 states that in the future day when God dwells among 
men as king there will be no more "Canaanite" in the Temple. So 
how could it be that the prophet envisions the work of the good 
shepherd as being "for the Canaanites" or that the "Canaanites" 
would recognize God's word through the prophet? How much more 
appropriate if those concepts would be ascribed to "the poor of the 



The spelling of the gentilic plural alternates between -im and -iyyim. The latter 
spelling occurs in D ,! H2yrt (Exod 3:18). Sometimes the Ketib has the consonants for the 
spelling *-iyytm, but the Qere reads -iyim (D ,, TirP, Esth 4:7). I was unable to locate any 
examples of a gentilic in construct. This is not unusual, considering that gentilics are not 
common and are adjectives. However, they often take the article, and the form rHJtt? 
("her merchants," Isa 23:8) has a pronoun suffix. 

""Inquiry into the Hebrew Text and the Ancient Versions of Zechariah ix-xiv," 
OTS 7 (1950) 100. 

35 See S. Segert, Altaramaische Grammatik (Leipzig: VEB Verlag Enzyklopadie, 
1975) 58. 

^Zechariah, 194. 



60 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

flock"? The term "poor of the flock" is not attested elsewhere, but the 
word "poor" is coupled with "people" (Isa 10:2; 14:32; Ps 72:4). In a 
manuscript without final forms it would have been a simple, uncon- 
scious process for the words to be divided wrongly in one verse and 
then influence the other verse by assimilation. The reverse process of 
changing the Masoretic reading to the Greek reading seems very 
difficult to accept. 

Both the MT and LXX readings can be traced back to approxi- 
mately contemporary periods. The MT is supported by all the other 
ancient versions and is represented in a fragment of a Qumran 
commentary on Isaiah (4Q163 21). The latter contains parts of two 
lines quoted from Zech 11:11 and parts of Isa 30:1-5. The editor gives 
the preserved part of line 7 as H JXiXn ""^J? p. From the photograph 
it is clear that the first two words are indeed "^l? p with a final nun 
and a blank space for a word division. 37 

THE CONTEXT OF ZECH 11:4-17 

One final issue is the way in which the LXX reading fits into the 
overall context of Zech 11:4-17. The passage is best described as an 
allegory in which the prophet is first commanded to represent a 
shepherd who takes positive action on behalf of his suffering flock. 38 
After his rejection he is given a new command to represent a "foolish" 
or "useless" C^IX) shepherd. 

The question of the role of the sheep dealers in this passage is 
interrelated with the role of the other participants. These include 
Yahweh, the prophet, and the flock. Also of great significance is the 
relation of Zech 11:4-17 to the rest of Zech 9-14. That is a broader 
contextual question, and it will be treated first. 

Zech 9-14 has an obvious division into two "burdens" or 
"oracles" (Xttfa). 39 The first burden consists of chaps 9-11. Within 
these limits chap 11 is clearly distinct from 9-10. There is uncertainty 
about the reference of 11:1-3, some taking it as a conclusion and 
others as an introduction. 41 Perhaps the important elements of both 
views can be maintained by calling it transitional. 

37 J. M. Allegro, Qumran Cave 4; I (4Q 158-4Q 186) (DJD 5; Oxford: Clarendon, 
1968), pi. 8. 

M. Rehm compares the form to Jer 25:15-29 ("Die Hirtenallegorie Zach 1 1,4-14," 
flZ4[1960] 186). Unger (Zechariah, 191) takes it as a symbolic action which was actually 
carried out; cf. M. Saebo, Sacharja 9-14; Untersuchungen von Text und Form 
(WMANT 34; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1969) 234-52. 

39 I take the term in the negative sense (cf. P. A. H. deBoer, "An Inquiry into the 
Meaning of the Term XWE," OTS 5 [1948] 197-214). 

40 See Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, 177-79; Rudolph, Sacharja 9-14, 
199-200. 

41 See Feinberg, God Remembers, 197-200. 



finley: sheep merchants 61 

In relation to Israel, chaps 9-10 have a positive tone, while chap 
11 is quite negative. The first section can be divided as follows: 

1. Judgment on Israel's neighbors (9:1-8) 

2. Coming of Israel's king to Jerusalem (9:9-10) 

3. Promise of help in battle and other blessings for Israel (9:11- 
10:12). 

After all of these positive assertions it is astonishing to find Israel 
described as a "flock of slaughter" concerning which Yahweh says, "I 
will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land." 

Chaps 12-14 form the second burden. It contains both positive 
and negative elements dispersed throughout, but there is a significant 
contrast with the first burden. The emphasis on the entire nation in 
the latter is unmistakable. The following phrases will illustrate the 
point: 

1. all the tribes of Israel (9:1) 

2. Ephraim . . . [and] Jerusalem (9:10) 

3. Judah . . . [and] Ephraim (9:13) 

4. the house of Judah and ... the house of Joseph (10:6) 

5. the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (11:14) 

Therefore it is significant that the second burden is phrased entirely in 
terms of "Jerusalem," "Judah," or "the house of David." The city of 
Jerusalem is especially prominent in chaps 12 and 14. Yet the title of 
the whole section is, "the burden of the word of Yahweh concerning 
Israel" (12:1). 

The reason for the different way in which Israel is viewed in the 
second burden must be related to the breaking of the second staff in 
the vision of chap 1 1 . The result of that action was the breaking of 
"the brotherhood between Judah and Israel." From that point to the 
end of the book the northern tribes are never mentioned again, except 
for a possible indirect reference in the term "Israel" in 12:1. It is as 
though after the events of chap 1 1 all of the future hopes of the 
nation are centered on Judah and Jerusalem. 

There is another prominent difference between the two burdens. 
In the second burden there is an emphasis on spiritual cleansing 
which is entirely absent from the first. Both sections describe divine 
deliverance of the people in battle, but in the second part there is 
always movement towards a climax of spiritual cleansing. The follow- 
ing passages illustrate this point: 

1. In that day a fountain will be opened ... for sin and for 
iniquity (13:1). 



62 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

2. I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the 
land (13:2). 

3. I will bring the third part through fire (13:9). 42 

4. There will be no more curse (14:11). 

5. There will be on the bells of the horses, "Holy to Yahweh" 
(14:20). 

The need for this cleansing also hinges on the events of chap 1 1 . 
Chaps 9-10 have a positive tone of blessing for the whole nation. 
Chap 1 1 totally reverses the situation and puts Yahweh in direct 
conflict with his people. The remainder of the book describes the 
restoration of the broken relationship, with an emphasis on the role 
of Judah and Jerusalem in that restoration. Surely chap 1 1 is pivotal 
to Zech 9-14. 

Returning to the prophetic narrative of 11:4-17, the role of the 
participants will be examined now. A very prominent role is taken by 
Yahweh himself. He directs Zechariah 43 to perform the symbolic 
actions. First the prophet is commanded to "tend the flock of 
slaughter." Later Yahweh tells him to cast the money paid as wages 
"to the potter." 44 The last command is for Zechariah to "take again 
... the equipment of a useless shepherd." It is clear that Yahweh is 
directing the entire course of events. 

It is also Yahweh who introduces the term "flock of slaughter" 
and gives an elaborate description of it with reference to those who 
are using the flock for their own selfish purposes (v 5). Also it is his 
description of the wages as "that magnificient price at which I was 
valued by them" which demonstrates that the sum was ultimately an 
evaluation of Yahweh. 45 

Finally, there are two prophecies which Zechariah quotes as the 
direct words of Yahweh. One of these is w 16-17 where Yahweh 
speaks first of a future shepherd who will not care for the flock and 
then curses him. It is interesting that though the prophet is com- 
manded to represent this second shepherd, nothing is stated con- 
cerning how he actually carried it out. 



The fact that the section 13:7-9 speaks of the purification of Israel by fire argues 
against relocating it at the end of chap. 11 as is advocated by, for example, Rudolph 
(Sacharja 9-14, 213-15). Even the NEB rearranges the text, but the evidence is subjective. 

43 It is assumed that Zechariah is responsible for both chaps 1-8 and 9-14. See 
Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, 66-70. Saebo argues for the possibility that the "I" 
of Zech 1 1:4-17 may in fact be the Zechariah of chaps 1-8, though only in the sense of an 
original "kernel" which has undergone later accretions (Sacharja 9-14, 252). 

""Cf. n. 2 above. 
There is no external evidence for changing the word 'Fni?' ("I was valued") to 
l?"li?? ("you [the shepherd] were valued") as advocated by the apparatus of BHS. 



finley: sheep merchants 63 

The other prophecy is in v 6, and it is so important that I will 
discuss it in some detail. Many have taken it to refer to the foreign 
nations, translating f "1XH > 2ttJ'' as "inhabitants of the earth." 46 If so, 
the verse is completely extraneous to its context and there would 
seem to be some force to the argument by many that it is a later 
insertion. 47 Rather the term should be translated "inhabitants of the 
land" in reference to "the flock of slaughter" or perhaps even to the 
flock in addition to the "buyers," "sellers," and "shepherds" of v 5. 
The main objection to this interpretation is that the prophet's assign- 
ment seems to be negative from the outset, "Tend the flock of 
slaughter . . . for I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the 
land." However, the verse is simply a prophetic declaration based on 
the results of the shepherd's ministry. It may be compared with 
Isa 6:9-13 where a positive intent is coupled with negative results. In 
light of what is going to happen Yahweh declares that there will be 
both internal ("I am going to deliver the people into each other's 
hand") 48 and external ("and into the hand of their king") strife. The 
"king" here probably means a foreign king. 49 The prediction then 
accords well with the symbolism of the two staffs. On this occasion, 
in contrast to all other instances of strife described in Zech 9-14, 
Yahweh declares, "and I will not deliver from their hand." 

Turning to the role of the prophet, it is now evident that as the 
shepherd he is the personal representative of Yahweh. The rejection 
he experiences is the rejection of Yahweh. That is why the punish- 
ment is so severe, and that is why the rest of the book dwells so much 
on the need for cleansing. The vision of Zech 1 1 depicts a terrible sin 
committed against Yahweh himself. When the shepherd is said to 
have made "a covenant with all the peoples," it is really a covenant 
that Yahweh has made. Even the act of shepherding itself must 
represent the care of Yahweh for his people. For this reason it is 
correct to call the shepherd in 11:4-14 the "good" shepherd. This is 
further demonstrated by the contrast with the "useless" shepherd of 
w 15-17. Rejection of the good leadership of Yahweh's personal 
representative led to the introduction of a bad shepherd. 

A problem arises with the phrase "for the sheep merchants" in 
v 7. These merchants must be connected with the "buyers," "sellers," 
and "shepherds" of v 5 who are acting from evil motives. Therefore, 



46 Keil, Minor Prophets, 360. 

47 Rudolph, Sacharja 9-14, 205-6. 
The reading of IHJn as "his neighbor," in conformity with the pointing of MT, fits 
the context better than the repointing to "his shepherd" suggested in the apparatus of 
BHS. 

49 See Feinberg, God Remembers, 202-4. 



64 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

in what sense does the representative of Yahweh act "for" (7) these 
men? This very problem was probably the motive for the MT reading 
(though not necessarily in a conscious way). One proposal is to 
interpret the V not as "for" but as an alternate grammatical device for 
the construct state when a noun governed by a construct is itself 
governing another noun. 50 GKC (§ 129d) gives an example from Ruth 
2:3, T^S^ rn^n rij?Vn, which means "the portion of the field belong- 
ing to Boaz." In like manner, the expression in Zech 11:7 could be, 
"the flock of slaughter of the sheep merchants." That is, it is the sheep 
merchants who do the slaughtering. There are actually four nouns to 
be related, in this view, and a construct chain of more than three 
nouns is extremely rare (see Lev 21:12; 25:29). The logical place to 
break the chain with a b would be exactly where it is now. 

An alternate explanation is given by M. Rehm. He gives the 
phrase a theological interpretation. God in his sovereignty permits 
oppressive rulers because of the sin of the people (1 Sam 8:18; 
Neh 9:37; Isa 3:4; 19:4; Hos 13:11). In mercy he is willing to send his 
shepherd to correct the abuses of existing rulers. However, God 
knows that the shepherd will be rejected. Therefore, the same situa- 
tion will be true in the end as at the beginning. The oppressive rulers 
will enrich their own coffers at the expense of the flock. In that sense 
the shepherd works "for the sheep dealers." 51 Rehm's view seems less 
likely to me than the previous explanation. 

The flock itself is repeatedly given the designation "of slaughter." 
It represents the great mass of the people of Israel who are being 
oppressed by their leaders. They are the ones who reject the shepherd 
initially. They are also the ones to whom the breaking of the first staff 
is directed. The "covenant with all the peoples" may be taken as the 
restraint imposed by God which prevents the nations from attacking 
and overrunning Israel. 52 Under foreign domination the leadership 
might be able to retain power by compromise with the enemy, but the 
common people suffer the severest consequences. 

If the people rather than the merchants are involved in w 12-13, 
there is an immediate problem. It would make more sense for the 
shpeherd to ask for wages from the merchants rather than from the 
flock itself. Sheep do not pay wages to their shepherd. Furthermore, 
the flock has already shown its contempt for the shepherd ("and also 
they loathed me," v 8). Why would a new evaluation be called for? 

The merchants are depicted throughout as ruthless and self- 
serving. They evidently symbolize the temporal rulers and upper 

50 Rudolph, Sacharja 9-14, 202; P. Lamarche, Zacharie IX-XIV, Structure Litteraire 
et Messianisme (Paris: Gabalda, 1961) 64. 
5 'Rehm, "Hirtenallegorie," 189. 
52 See Feinberg, God Remembers, 207-8. 



finley: sheep merchants 65 

classes of the people. There could be foreign elements as well as 
native Israelites among them. Zechariah's characterization of them 
is no different than that of prophets who had preceded him (Isa 9: 
19-20; Jer 23:1-2; Ezek 18:10-13; Hos 12:7 (Eng. v 8); Amos 2:6-7; 
Mic 3:1-3). 

The merchants are given their own opportunity to evaluate the 
shepherd. They had been watching his actions and realized "that it 
was the word of Yahweh." It is unclear just why they came to this 
conclusion. Perhaps they saw some tangible evidence of the state- 
ment, "so it was broken in that day." 53 Or, there may be some 
connection with the statement in v 5, "Blessed be Yahweh, for I have 
become rich!" As Joyce Baldwin puts it, 

What the prophet had done at the Lord's command was just what the 
merchants wanted to be done. They wanted to be rid of the shepherd. 
Once again God's providence seemed to be favoring them (cf. verse 5). 54 

At any rate, in the actual evaluation the merchants showed their 
contempt just as the people had previously. The thirty pieces of silver is 
a symbol of contempt. It should also be noted that the breaking of the 
second staff would directly affect the merchants. With the onset of 
anarchy there would be a complete overturning of all positions of 
privilege. Foreign conquerors might show favor toward leaders who 
would help enrich them, but internal chaos puts everyone in a 
dangerous position. It is fitting that the final element of the cleansing 
of the nation in chap 14 is referred to the merchants, "And there will no 
longer be a merchant P^D] in the house of Yahweh in that day." 

CONCLUSION 

The MT in Zech 11:7, 11 has strong external support. Neverthe- 
less, various considerations strongly favor the alternate LXX reading 
of "merchant" in both places. The most important argument is the 
grammatical uniqueness of the structure of the passages if the conso- 
nants p( /) are read as conjunctions. For a single passage a grammati- 
cal anomaly might seem feasible. But when both passages have the 
same sequence of identical consonants but differing conjunctions, the 
coincidence is too unlikely. It is clear how the MT developed from the 
LXX, but the alternate development cannnot be explained adequately. 
Finally, the LXX reading makes better sense within the context. 



See R. Brunner, Sacharja (Ziircher Bibelkommentare; Zurich: Zwingli Verlag, 
1960) 150. 

54 Haggai. Zechariah. Malachi, 184. 



THE ESCHATOLOGY OF THE 

WARNING PASSAGES IN THE 

BOOK OF HEBREWS 

Stanley D. Toussaint 



The prophetic portions of the warning passages in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews contain broad hints as to whom these admonitions are 
addressed. The notices of judgment and the warnings of failure do 
not deal with rewards for Christians but with eternal judgment and 
the missing of millennial blessing. 



INTRODUCTION 

The Book of Hebrews fairly bristles with a number of large and 
perplexing problems, such as authorship, destination, the nature 
of the work, and the writer's use of the OT. At or near the apex of 
questions concerned with the interpretation of this work is a con- 
sideration of the warning passages. Are they directed to believers, 
advising that there may be a loss of reward, or do they warn 
professing believers about the danger of apostasy? Even if the warn- 
ings are only hypothetical, the reader ultimately is driven back to 
these two alternatives. It is quite clear the book is addressed to a 
specific readership in a particular location with a definite situation in 
view (cf. 10:32-34; 12:4; 13:3, 23). Because the epistle is so specific it 
can hardly be said that one warning passage is directed to one group 
and another warning to a different group. It seems that the writer is 
addressing all the warnings to the same readership. 

One great aid in determining the target of the warning passages 
is the eschatology in these passages. In other words, do the passages 
threaten loss of reward or the missing of salvation? If the former is 
correct, the paragraphs in question are addressed to believers; if on 
the other hand the eschatology deals with eternal damnation or 
eternal salvation, the passages are aimed at professing believers. 

It is the thesis of this article that eschatology is a determinative 
factor in coming to the conclusion that the passages in question are 



68 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

concerned with the danger of apostasy. There were some in the 
readership who had made a profession of faith in Christ but were 
seriously considering returning to Judaism. It was not a case of the 
Galatian heresy where some were attempting to unite Christianity 
with Judaism; on the contrary, these people were about to abandon 
Christianity to slip back to the works system of Judaism. 

HEBREWS 2:1-4 

A crucial point in this section is the meaning of "salvation" in 
v 3: ". . . how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" Does 
it refer to believers' rewards or to ultimate salvation? For several 
reasons, the word must be understood eschatologically and soterio- 
logically. 

First, the same noun is used in 1:14, where the writer says angels 
are rendering service for the heirs of salvation. It is obvious that the 
noun atoTT|pia is used in 1:14 in the ultimate sense. 

The salvation here spoken of lies in the future; it is yet to be 
inherited, even if its blessings can already be enjoyed in anticipation. 
That is to say, it is that eschatological salvation which, in Paul's words, 
is now "nearer to us than when we first believed" (Rom. 13:11) or, in 
Peter's words, is "ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Pet. 1:5). Our 
author does not need to explain to his readers what he means by this 
salvation; the term and its meaning are familiar to them already. What 
they do need to understand is the fearful danger to which they will be 
exposed if they treat this salvation lightly. 1 

However, someone may object that the question is not the 
meaning of "salvation" in 1:14 but in 2:3. This criticism sounds valid, 
but it must be noted that the author of Hebrews often uses "hook 
words," i.e., vocabulary that is employed both at the end of one 
paragraph and at the beginning of the next to link units of thought 
together. 2 It appears that "salvation" is one of those hook words. 
(This is confirmed by the use of 5id toCto in 2:1.) The noun acorr|pia 
in 2:3 must then have the same meaning as it does in 1:14, that is, 
eschatological deliverance. Buchanan agrees with this concept: 

"Salvation" in the Old Testament usually refers either to deliver- 
ance of a nation from the power of the enemy at war, or to receiving a 
pardon or verdict of "not guilty" in a court case. For the author of 



F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1964), 25-26. 

2 Neil R. Lightfoot, Jesus Christ Today: A Commentary on the Book of Hebrews 
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976), 48-49. 



TOUSSAINT: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 69 

Hebrews it refers to the deliverance that the Son provides when God 
makes his "enemies a footstool for [his] feet" (1:13), and the Son utilize 
"the staff of justice" (1:8) to rule over his people. 3 

There is a second reason why the salvation must be eschatological; 
v 5 clearly defines it in such a manner. In that passage the writer 
refers to ". . . the world to come, concerning which we are speaking." 
The salvation certainly involves an eschatological age. In discussing 
the phrase xr|v oiKoi)uivr)v ir|v ueA^ouoav, Westcott states: 

The phrase is not to be understood simply of 'the future life' or, 
more generally, of 'heaven'. It describes, in relation to that which we 
may call its constitution, the state of things which, in relation to its 
development in time, is called 'the age to come' (6 ueXXcuv aicbv), and, 
in relation to its supreme Ruler and characteristics, 'the Kingdom of 
God,' or 'the Kingdom of heaven,' even the order which corresponds 
with the completed work of Christ. 4 

Michel in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says, 
"Hb. 2:5 clearly represents the old apocalyptic phrase X3H DViV." 5 

There is a third factor that enters into the understanding of 
salvation in Heb 2:3. This is found in the clause of the same verse, 
"After it was at the first spoken through the Lord. . . ." The Greek 
text has ffxig dpxtiv Xafiovaa A,aA.eia9ai 5id toC Kupiou. "This 
singular mode of expression suggests somewhat more than the simple 
fact of having first been spoken, and implies that the teaching of the 
Lord was the true origin of the Gospel." 6 This can hardly be the 
doctrine of justification by faith. That truth had been in effect since 
man sinned (Heb 11:4; Gen 15:6; Ps 32:1; Hab 2:4). Nor can it refer 
to rewards, for this doctrine also is found in the OT (Dan 12:3). The 
salvation which received a beginning in the preaching of Christ was 
the kingdom and its nearness. Bruce comments: 

It had, of course, been proclaimed in advance by the prophets; but 
not until the coming of Christ, when promise gave place to fulfillment, 
could it be effectively brought near. The note of fulfilment was heard 
when Jesus came into Galilee after John the Baptist's imprisonment, 
"preaching the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the 
kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 
l:14f.), and when, as in the synagogue at Nazareth, He read the words 

George Wesley Buchanan, To the Hebrews (AB; Garden City: Doubleday, 
1972), 25. 

Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
n.d.), 42. 

5 TDNT, s.v. "rj oiKouuevn.," by Otto Michel, 5 (1967): 159. 
6 Westcott, Hebrews, 39. 



70 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

of Isa. 61:lf. which announce "good tidings to the poor" and "release 
to the captives", and proclaim "the acceptable year of the Lord", and 
followed them with the declaration: "Today hath this scripture been 
fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:18ff). 

The kingdom was based on the death and resurrection of the 
Messiah, but it is not limited to that. The writer is looking beyond 
forensic imputation to the age to come so graphically proclaimed by 
the Lord Jesus. That is the salvation which is in view. 

The fourth evidence in favor of seeing the salvation in this 
passage as being eschatological is the usage of acoiripta in Hebrews. 
It is found seven times in the book (1:14; 2:3, 10; 5:9; 6:9; 9:28; 11:7). 
The occurrences in 1:14 and 2:3 quite clearly are prophetic in nature. 
The reference in 2:10 is in the context of bringing sons to glory, an 
obvious reference to the Christian's future life. In 5:9, the salvation is 
described as "eternal." The meaning in 6:9 is not so clear; it may, 
however, look at eternal salvation. The author expects the readers to 
bear fruit in their lives as those who are heirs of salvation. In 9:28, 
acorn pia is the goal of Christ's second coming. In 11:7, it is used of 
Noah's deliverance in the flood and therefore does not relate to the 
subject at hand. Quite clearly then, the writer of Hebrews looks at 
salvation as being eschatological. The occurrence in 11:7 does not 
pertain to Christians. The only debatable uses are in 2:3 and 6:9, both 
of which probably refer to ultimate deliverance. 

It should be noted that the salvation in view cannot refer to 
believer's rewards. The context has retribution in view in contrast to 
salvation. The argument is a fortiori. If disobedience to the angelic 
message brought just recompense, how much more will there be 
judgment on those who disregard the good news of a salvation that 
bears fruit in the coming age? At the judgment seat of Christ there 
will be no remembrance of sin (Heb 8:12; 10:17; Jer 31:34; Ps 103:12). 
The paragraph is looking at eschatological salvation and therefore is 
a warning to the professing readers of Hebrews not to jettison 
Christianity in favor of Judaism. 

HEBREWS 3:7-4:13 

The warning here is for readers to fear coming short of the 
promised rest. The crux interpretum is the meanig of "rest." The 
vocabulary used is Kcn:d7rai)ai<; (3:11, 18; 4:1, 3 [twice], 5, 10, 11), 
KaTcmauco (4:4, 8, 10) and aaf3pcmafi6<; (4:9). The noun KaTti7tauaic; 
was employed in classical Greek to mean "a putting to rest, causing to 
cease," but in the LXX and NT it lost its causal sense and simply 



Bruce, Hebrews, 29. 



TOUSSAINT: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 71 

meant "rest, repose." 8 The verb KaTarcauco has a transitive meaning in 
Heb 4:8, where the writer refers to Joshua's failure to give Israel rest. 
In Heb 4:4 it takes an intransitive sense, where God is said to have 
rested from his creative work. The noun oaPPaTiauoc, is an NT 
hapax legomenon and means "Sabbath rest, Sabbath observance." 9 

As one studies the passage he comes to the conclusion the writer 
of Hebrews is looking at several facets of rest. First, there is the 
seventh-day rest of God when he ceased from his creative work (4:4, 
10). There is a second aspect of rest, the rest which involved Israel's 
taking the promised land (3:11, 18-19). That the conquest of the land 
was viewed as a form of rest is seen in such passages as Deut 3:20; 
12:9; 25:19; Josh 1 1:23; 21:44; 22:4, and 23:1. The third facet of rest in 
Hebrews 3 and 4 is the promised rest. Here is the difficulty. What is 
being promised? 

There are a number who take the promised rest to be eternal 
bliss, 10 and several factors support this position. First, the promise of 
entering the rest (4:1) implies that the blessing is a future one 
(cf. 4:1 1). Second, the heavenly estate described in Rev 14:13 refers to 
rest. 

Others say that the rest in view is the present Christian experience 
of peace. 11 Some who hold this position say that the existing rest for 
the Christian finds its ultimate completion in eternity. Several lines of 
evidence are used to support this interpretation. For one, the verb 
eioepxousOa in 4:3 is present tense, which implies that this is to be 
the present experience of believers who walk with God. However, this 
may well be a futuristic present such as one finds in Matt 17:1 1; John 
14:3; and 1 Cor 16:5. Turner affirms that such occurrences are ". . . 
confident assertions intended to arrest attention with a vivid and 
realistic tone or else with imminent fulfilment in mind. . . ." 12 Quite 

8 G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1937), 237. 

9 William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New 
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago, 
1957), 746. 

'"Representative of this group are Bruce, Hebrews, 77-79; Thomas Hewitt, The 
Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960), 89; Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, 
A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 161- 
62; Homer A. Kent, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1972), 86-87; Lightfoot, Hebrews, 96-97; Westcott, Hebrews, 98-99. 

"Representative are W. H. Griffith Thomas, Let Us Go On (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, n.d.), 45-50; Clarence S. Roddy, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1962), 46-48; Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible New 
American Standard Translation (Chicago: Moody, 1976), 1841; R. B. Thieme, Jr., The 
Faith-Rest Life (Houston: R. B. Thieme, Jr., 1961), 22-49. 

12 Nigel Turner, Syntax, James Hope Moulton, ed., A Grammar of New Testament 
Greek, Vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963), 63. 



72 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

obviously, this kind of use in Heb 4:3 would catch the reader's 
attention. 

There is a second line of support for taking this to be the peace 
of God in one's heart as he walks with God. It may be that the 
invitation of Christ Jesus in Matt 11:28-30 parallels this passage. Of 
course, the Lord's solicitation in Matthew 1 1 is a call to rest, but does 
that prove that this is the meaning in Hebrews? The idea of peace in 
the Christian's walk is completely biblical, but this by no means 
confirms that concept here. 

The third support for taking this to be the Christian's present 
experience is typology. Thus, the Exodus is said to portray redemp- 
tion, the wilderness wanderings illustrate the pre-rest walk of the 
believer, and being in the land looks to the faith-rest walk. This line 
of evidence has its own seeds of destruction in it. The writer of 
Hebrews specifically notes that neither Joshua nor David, who were 
in the land, gave the people rest (Heb 4:7-8)! Not only does every 
support for this view lose its force when fully considered; there are 
formidable objections to it. For one, the words of Heb 4:12-13 
oppose such an interpretation. These verses are not words of assurance 
but warning. That they explain the preceding verse is obvious from 
the yap with which v 12 is introduced. It is an admonition which 
predicts judgment for those who do not enter rest. A second objection 
rests on the instruction of 4:10. There the writer says that the readers 
are to cease from works as God did. The clear implication of the 
faith-rest view is that God's works were bad! In other words, the 
viewpoint which takes this passage as referring to the Christian's 
intimate walk with God and the peace which results from it enjoins 
the Christian to cease from his law-works, his striving, his fleshly 
labors, and simply to trust in God. If the parallel is carried out in 
4:10, then God's works were also carnal and fleshly strivings. 

A third interpretation takes this rest of 3:7-4:13 to anticipate the 
coming millennial kingdom age. 13 A number of factors point to this 
as the best interpretation. 

First, in Heb 4:1, the promise to enter God's rest remains for 
those who receive it. The promise implies that it is futuristic in 
application. 

Second, Psalm 95, the basis for the entire warning section and 
the source of the admonition concerning rest, is an enthronement 
Psalm. 14 Regarding this type of psalm Kaiser says, "Therefore, each 



Representatives of this viewpoint are Buchanan, Hebrews, 64-74; G. H. Lang, 
The Epistle to the Hebrews (London: Paternoster, 1951), 75-80; Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., 
"The Promise Theme and the Theology of Rest," BSac 130 (1973), 138-50. 

l4 Christoph Barth, Introduction to the Psalms (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1966), 21. 



toussaint: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 73 

of these psalms alike tells the story of a divine kingdom which is yet 
to be set up on the earth." 15 In other words, the theme of the 
enthronement psalms is clearly eschatological and anticipates the rule 
of the Lord on this planet (cf. Ps 93:1-2; 96:10; 97:1; 99:1). The "rest" 
of Psalm 95 must therefore anticipate the millennium. 

Third, the concept of aaPPrxTiauoc; (Heb 4:9) was used in Jewish 
literature to refer to the kingdom age. This has been noted by many. 1 ^ 
In the Jewish prayer after sabbath meals the petition is made, "May 
the All-merciful let us inherit the day which shall be wholly a Sabbath 
and rest in the life everlasting." 17 Buchanan asserts that the Epistle to 
the Hebrews is so steeped in the OT that the concept of rest cannot be 
limited to a spiritual interpretation but must include national and 
earthly concepts; in fact, he feels that any other interpretation is 
inconsistent. 

Andreasen's view is an illustration of this. While he acknowl- 
edges the OT expectation of a Jewish earthly kingdom in the term 
"rest," he goes on to give the word a limited spiritual meaning in 
Hebrews. Westcott does the same. He says, "The Jewish teachers 
dwelt much upon the symbolical meaning of the Sabbath as pre- 
figuring 'the world to come'." 20 But having said this he goes on to 
take this to be eternity. It certainly is more logical to say that the NT 
theology of rest is founded on OT doctrine. 

A fourth factor supports the idea of a millennial rest as being in 
the mind of the writer of Hebrews. The OT refers to the kingdom age 
as being a time of rest (Ps 132:12-14; Isa 11:10; 14:3; 32:18; 34:15). 

Fifth, the "rest" spoken of in Psalm 95 clearly involved Israel's 
dwelling in the land; therefore, the promised rest can scarcely be 
divorced from settlement in the land. 

Sixth, Heb 4:8 speaks of another prophetic "day." This clearly is 
a period of time and is explained in 4:9 as the sabbath rest. 

Seventh, the rest was prepared from the foundation of the world 
(Heb 4:3-4) just as the kingdom was (Matt 25:34). This explains why 
Christ was employed in healing on the Jewish sabbath in John 5. The 
ultimate sabbath had not yet come so Christ with his Father was 
working to bring in that ultimate sabbath or kingdom age. It should 



l5 Kaiser, "Promise Theme," 142. 

16 Westcott, Hebrews, 98-99; cf. Bruce, Hebrews, 75; Buchanan, Hebrews, 73; 
Hughes, Hebrews, 161. 

Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, s.v. "Sabbath (Jewish)" by I. Abrahams 
10(1930): 891. 

18 Buchanan, Hebrews, 64-65, 72-74. 
Neils-Erik Andreasen, Rest and Redemption (Berrien Springs, Michigan: An- 
drews University, 1978), 109-15. 
20 Westcott, Hebrews, 98. 



74 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

be noted that this idea of a sabbath day being the millennial age is no 
recent, innovative interpretation. It dates back at least to the Epistle 
of Barnabas in the early second century. 

By way of conclusion to this section it may be said that there are 
three "rests" in these paragraphs of Hebrews. First, there is God's 
cessation from His creation work. This rest will be manifested in the 
kingdom age when redeemed mankind enters His inheritance. The 
second rest was Israel's conquest and possession of the promised land 
under Joshua. This is a picture of the kingdom rest. The third rest is 
the promised rest which actually is God's rest which comes to man in 
the millennium. 

Here then is the warning. If the readers were mere professors and 
rejected Christ in order to go back to the works system of Judaism, 
they would be excluded from the promised kingdom age or God's 
rest. 

HEBREWS 6:4-8 

This warning, infamous for its difficulty, has little to say eschato- 
logically. The only prophetic statement is made by illustration and 
implication in vv 7-8. There the writer warns, "For ground that 
drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation 
useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from 
God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to 
being cursed, and it ends up being burned." 21 

Obviously, some kind of judgment is in view here. But is it a 
judgment to determine believers' rewards or is it the condemnation of 
the lost? Those who claim the former position point to the consump- 
tion of the Christian's works by flame in 1 Corinthians 3 as being 
parallel with v 8 here. Is this, however, the best interpretation? 

There is no solid evidence that the picture portrays the damnation 
of the lost. No comfort can be derived from the clause "close to being 
cursed" in v 7. The same vocabulary is employed in 8:13 for a certain 
and imminent doom. In other words, the worthless ground was 
destined to be cursed soil, scarcely the kind of vocabulary to be used 
of a Christian, even if he was carnal! Furthermore, the contrast 
between the two verses seems to portray the condition of the earth 
before the fall and after. In its Edenic state it was blessed and 
productive; after the sin of Adam it was cursed and in need of 
redemption. 22 Bruce compares the analogy to the vineyard song of 
Isaiah 5. 23 In either case the figure graphically portrays Israel. It had 

21 NASB. All extended quotations are from the NASB. 
"Buchanan, Hebrews, 110. 
23 Bruce, Hebrews, 124-25. 



toussaint: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 75 

received the blessings of promises, covenants, the law, the Scriptures, 
and the name of Jehovah. If, however, the people failed to respond to 
the Messiah, the only destiny was eternal perdition. Kent comments, 
"The whole tenor of the passage demands retribution and destruction 
as the emphatic point." 24 Also, as Hewitt notes, "The context does 
not favour the suggestion that the piece of ground should be burnt by 
man to improve it. . . ." 25 The threefold progression in v 8 of 
worthless, cursed, and burned hardly looks at the life of a believer in 
Christ. Finally, the contrast with v 9 implies that a distinction is being 
drawn between the future of the lost and saved. As was noted before, 
GCDiripia in Hebrews when used of Christians anticipates eschato- 
logical salvation. 26 This is the destiny of the redeemed; v 8 looks to 
the future of the damned. 

HEBREWS 10:26-39 

This fourth warning section has a great deal to do with future 
judgment and some with the promise of future blessing. In this 
paragraph the writer declares: 

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of 
the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain 
terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which 

WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 

Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy 
on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who 
has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean 
the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted 
the Spirit of grace? 

For we know Him who said, "vengeance is mine, i will repay." 
And again, "the lord will judge his people." 

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you 
endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly, by being made a public 
spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming 
sharers with those who were so treated. 

For you showed sympathy to the prisoners, and accepted joyfully 
the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a 
better possession and an abiding one. 



Kent, Hebrews, 115. 
5 Hewitt, Hebrews, 109. 
5 Cf. p. 68. 



76 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great 
reward. 

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the 
will of God, you may receive what was promised. 

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, 
AND WILL NOT DELAY. 

BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIFE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS 
BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of 
those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. 

This paragraph is the most severe of the five warning sections. 
Perhaps this is due to the degree of sin and the descriptions of the 
rebellion committed by those who fall into the peril of the warning. 
They are guilty of willful sin, outright defiance of God (v 26; cf. Num 
15:30-36). The disannulling of the law of Moses described in v 28 
looks back to Deut 17:2-6. The context of that OT passage deals with 
Israelites who abandoned the worship of Jehovah to go into idolatry 
or the veneration of other gods. In v 29 the writer of Hebrews 
describes the sins of those who apostatize as trampling under foot 
(Kaxanaxicd) the Son of God, of regarding (fjyeouai, a sin of the 
intellect) as unclean the blood of the covenant, and of insulting the 
Spirit of grace. In this last sin the verb is evuPpi^co, a compounded 
verb which describes the awesome violence of God's holy name by 
insolence. 27 It here parallels the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matt 
12:32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10). 

Sprinkled throughout these descriptions of sin and rebellion are 
allusions to eschatology, particularly the coming of judgment and the 
promise of blessing. 

In several verses there is the prediction of judgment. The first 
allusion to this judgment is found in the connective yap in v 26. Quite 
clearly this particle introduces an explanation of the significance of 
the approaching day referred to in the preceding verse. That day, 
while it will be a time of vindication and deliverance for God's 
people, will bring condemnation for the lost as is seen in this passage. 
Westcott succinctly asserts, "The mention of 'the day' in v. 25 calls 
out the sad severity of the warning which follows." 28 

The judgment is described more fully in Heb 10:27, the verse 
which follows. The description is very interesting and significant. To 
explain what the judgment involves the writer of Hebrews quotes 

"The only occurrence of evu|3piCco in the LXX is in Lev 24:11 where it describes 
blasphemy. 

28 Westcott, Hebrews, 327. 



toussaint: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 77 

from Isa 26:11, a passage which contrasts the righteous with the 
wicked. Specifically, the lost are referred to as "enemies." The Greek 
term imevaviioc; describes what is "opposed to, opposite or contrary 
to." 29 This assize can hardly be a reference to believers' rewards! The 
awesomeness of this judgment is emphasized by the vocabulary. "The 
terror of the expectation is brought out by a more literal rendering of 
the words, 'a certain fearful expectation of judgment' (ASV); the 
indefinite 'a certain' leaves it somewhat open to the reader's imagina- 
tion to fill in the gruesome details of that judgment." 30 Certainly, as 
Wescott puts it, "Such a judgment (c.ix.27) would be, for those whom 
the Apostle describes, condemnation." 31 

This future judgment of the lost is further described in v 29 
where the writer uses an a fortiori argument. The punishment inflicted 
for highhanded or willful disobedience was death (Deut 17:2-6). If 
this was true in the OT for defiance of the law, how much worse will 
be God's judgment for scorning the Son of God (cf. 2:2)? What would 
be worse than physical death but eternal perdition? "The judgment 
awaiting those who will not trust for their salvation in the sacrifice of 
Christ must consist of eternal loss in hell. It is pictured as a fire that is 
almost personified and is possessed of zeal which is about to consume 
the opponents of Christ." 32 

The quotations in v 30 taken from the Song of Moses in Deut 
32:35-36 first sets forth the principle that God avenges his enemies. 
This first quotation is not taken directly from the Hebrew or LXX 
and may be a well-known proverb adapted from Deut 32:35. 33 While 
the objects of the warning in Deut 32:35 are Israelites, unbelieving 
Jews are in view. As Hughes asserts, "This God whom they have 
confessed as the God of grace and mercy is also the God of holiness 
and justice: faithfulness to his covenant leads to blessing, but rebellion 
means retribution." 34 The second quotation from Deut 32:36 predicts 
God's vindication of his people, Israel, in a still future day. The two 
passages together describe the deliverance of believing Israel and the 
judgment of those who do not trust in Messiah. Bruce comments, 
"This certainly means that He will execute judgment on their behalf, 
vindicating their cause against their enemies, but also that, on the 
same principles of impartial righteousness, He will execute judgment 
against them when they forsake His covenant." 35 



" The only other NT occurrence is in Col 2: 

30 Lightfoot, Hebrews, 194. 

31 Westcott, 329. 

"Kent, Hebrews, 205. 

"The same saying is found in Rom 12:19. 

"Hughes, Hebrews, 425. 

"Bruce, Hebrews, 262-63. 



78 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Further reference to judgment is found in v 31 of Hebrews 10. 
While the verse parallels David's statement, "Let us now fall into the 
hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great" (2 Sam 24:14), the contxt 
is pointedly judgmental. For a believer it is a merciful thing to fall 
into the hands of a loving God, but for apostates it is punitive and 
terrifying. 

Not until Heb 10:37-38 is the next reference to judgment given. It 
is a quotation from Hab 2:3-4. In an article of this length it is quite 
impossible to discuss the problems of quotation in this passage. It 
may be summarized by saying that the writer of Hebrews introduces 
the Habakkuk quotation by using Isa 26:20, "For yet in a very little 
while." The passage from Habakkuk is a free citation of the LXX 
text. In the use of the quotation, the NT writer refers to the one who 
draws back. The nature of this failure is not spelled out; however, it is 
quote clear that it refers to an apostate. In such a one God takes no 
pleasure. 

V 39 portrays the destiny of the one who "shrinks back." For 
him the end is dTicb^eiav. Concerning this noun Kent simply states 
that it 

. . . means destruction or ruin, and is commonly used in the New 
Testament of eternal destruction. Such passages as Matthew 7:13; 
Romans 9:22; Philippians 1:28; 3:19; and 1 Timothy 6:9 reveal this 
aspect of the word. Both Judas and the Antichrist are clled 'the son of 
perdition' (John 17:12; 2 Thess. 2:3), because of the eternal torment 
and ruin which their heinous deeds will bring. The usage of apoleia 
here makes it clear that the judgment described in this context is not 
just a chastening of God's people but the final destruction of apostates. 36 

This fourth warning section not only contains eschatology antici- 
pating judgment; it also looks ahead to promise. The first reference to 
this blessing is found in 10:34 where there is mention of a better and 
abiding possession. As the Lord had promised in Matt 6:20, they had 
laid up treasure in heaven. Peter also describes the imperishable 
quality of the Christian's inheritance (1 Pet 1:4). The Hebrew believer's 
eschatology in this time of persecution would be a real source of 
encouragement to him. 

V 35 refers to the reward that comes from confidence. This is not 
the same as the rewards given in 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 5. 
Very interestingly, uioOarcoSoaia occurs only in Hebrews (2:2; 10:35; 
1 1 :26). In 2:2 it is used of punishment and in the other two references it 
has the positive idea of blessing. This noun, derived from uigGoc; and 
(XKoSiScoui, looks at a payment of wages. Quite clearly, this is the glory 



'Kent, Hebrews, 215. 



toussaint: WARNING PASSAGES IN HEBREWS 79 

which awaits God's child (Rom 8:18). Hughes explains, "The relation- 
ship of the present pilgrimage to the future reward is the relationship of 
faith to hope, as the quotation which follows teaches (vv 37 and 38) 
and the next chapter so amply illustrates." 37 

What the reward involves is stated more clearly in 10:36. It 
consists of receiving "what was promised." The Greek literally says 
"the promise." The verb used in this verse, koui^u), is used with the 
promise in 11:13 and 39. This can hardly be accidental. In both of the 
occurrences in chap. 1 1 this vocabulary anticipates the millennium. 
The promise then looks ahead to life in Christ's earthly kingdom. 

V 39 explains this as "the preserving of the soul." Bruce interprets 
the phrase eiq 7r£pi7toir)o~iv vj/uxfjc; to be "... a variant expression for 
^rjoeTcu in the Habakkuk quotation in v. 38. " 38 "To possess and 
preserve one's soul is the essence of salvation." 3 ' 

In summary of the eschatology of the fourth warning it may be 
said that the promise of life is made and the warning of eternal 
perdition is issued for apostates. 

HEBREWS 12:25-29 

This fifth warning section is based on Hag 2:6, a passage which is 
predictive and eschatological. The argument here is another a fortiori 
one. The writer is looking back to Mount Sinai where God spoke to 
Israel through Moses. The voice came from Mount Sinai, so it was 
"on earth" as v 25 states. Today Christ who is in heaven warns 
through his earthly messengers. If the voice on earth brought in- 
escapable judgment, how much more the voice from heaven (cf. 
2:2-3). From what those who were disobedient did not escape is left 
unstated. It could be the judgment of death for flagrant disregard of 
the law or it may be the failure to enter the promised land. Probably 
it is the latter alternative since that entire generation failed in this 
regard. 

To make the point even more forceful and vivid Hag 2:6 is 
quoted, "Yet once more I will shake not only earth, but also the 
heaven." That passage looks back to the shaking of Sinai. 40 The 
primary problem here is how literal one is to take the future shaking 
of earth and heaven. Kent has a good word on this: 

Although some interpret the prophecy metaphorically as referring 
to the upheavals accomplished by Christ's first coming in its effect 



37 Hughes, Hebrews, 432. 

38 Bruce, Hebrews, 275. 

39 Kent, Hebrews, 215. 

40 Cf. Exod 19:18; Judg 5:4-5; Ps 68:8; 77: li 



80 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

upon Jewish worship and politics, the parallelism with the former 
shaking makes this view unlikely. The first shaking was physical and 
geographical at Sinai. There is no good reason to take this second 
shaking of the earth and the heavens above it in any less literal sense. 41 

The writer goes on to say that the only things which will remain 
after this are those things which cannot be shaken. This is not looking 
at the judgment seat of Christ where the believer's works and motives 
are to be tried by fire. The contrast is between the saved and lost. 

This fits with the conclusion in v 28. It is a kingdom which the 
Christian will receive, not simply rewards in the kingdom. 

Finally, the concept of God as a consuming fire fits the idea of 
the judgment of condemnation. Hewitt affirms, "At the second 
advent of Jesus Christ, just as the material and transitory will 
disappear and the eternal and permanent will remain, so what is false 
and vile will be revealed in the fire of God's holiness and those whose 
characters are such will be consumed by the fire of His judgment." 43 

CONCLUSION 

In all five warning passages of Hebrews the thing to be avoided 
by the original readers of that discourse was not loss of believers' 
rewards but loss of salvation. Quite clearly the writer knew of a group 
in that early congregation who had made professions of faith in Jesus 
Christ but were in peril of jettisoning their confessions to apostatize 
and lapse back into Judaism. The prophetic elements in the warnings 
confirm this interpretation. 



41 Kent, Hebrews, 275. 

4 The present participle 7rapa?axupdvovTe<; is both present and futuristic. The 
kingdom is received in the present time by faith; its realization is future. Cf. 11:39-40. 



SECOND CLASS CONDITIONS IN 
NEW TESTAMENT GREEK 

James L. Boyer 



Less frequent than other types of conditional sentences, second 
class conditions are also more specialized in their meaning and more 
restricted in their grammatical format. In these alone the verb tenses 
used provide the formal key to their identification. The major exegeti- 
cal question, and the only serious divergence on the part of gram- 
marians, centers around these tenses. This study concludes that the 
tenses used were determined by normal aspectual considerations, not 
by arbitrary rule of grammar. 



Second class conditional sentences occur less frequently than 
other types in the NT; there are only 47 examples. 1 Called by some 
"Contrary to Fact" or "Unreal," 2 by others "Determined as Unful- 
filled," 3 they enjoy more agreement on the part of the grammarians 
than the other types and are less problem for the exegete. 

'As compared with more than 300 first class and about 250 third class. There are 
no complete fourth class conditions in the NT. A listing of these 47 examples may be 
had by combining the lists given in notes 16-19, plus the two exceptions listed in the 
text below. 

2 So commonly in the grammars of classical Greek: W. W. Goodwin, Greek 
Grammar, rev. by. C. B. Gulick (Boston: Ginn, 1930) 296, Hadley and Allen, Greek 
Grammar (New York: D. Appleton, 1890) 283, Adolph Kaegi, A Short Grammar of 
Classical Greek (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1914) 143, and H. W. Smyth, A Greek Grammar 
(New York: American Book Co., 1916) 342. Among NT Greek grammars also: F. Blass 
and A. DeBrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian 
Literature, trans, and rev. by Robert Funk (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1961) 182, 
H. Dana and J. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: 
Macmillan) 287, W. S. LaSor, Handbook of New Testament Greek (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1973) B223, H. P. V. Nunn, A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek (Cam- 
bridge: Cambridge University, 1951) 1 17, and Nigel Turner, Syntax, Vol. 3 of A Grammar 
of New Testament Greek (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963) 91. 

J. H. Moulton, An Introduction to the Study of New Testament Greek (New 
York: Macmillan, 1955) 21 1, S. G. Green, A Handbook of the Grammar of the Greek 
Testament (New York: Revell, n.d.) 283, A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek 
New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman, 1934) 1012, 
W. D. Chamberlain, An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament (Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1941) 195. 



82 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

IDENTIFICATION OF THE TYPE 

Second class conditions are more formally structured than either 
of the other types. Both first and third class show a characteristic 
structure only in the protasis, but the second class shows a distinctive 
pattern in both the protasis and apodosis; indeed, it is the apodosis 
which clearly identifies it. 

The protasis uses the conditional conjunction ei with the verb in 
the indicative mood. In this it is like the first class. But the second class 
uses only past tenses, 4 whereas the first class may use any tense. Thus, 
theoretically, there can be ambiguity in the form of the protasis, but in 
few cases does this cause confusion of identification. 5 

The apodosis of second class conditions also uses a past tense of 
the indicative, usually 6 with <xv. In almost 7 every instance, the apodosis 
is a simple statement of a non-fact; what would be or would have been 
but was not. This contrasts strongly with the great variety of apodosis 
forms occurring in the first and third classes. 

The negative in the protasis is almost always urj, with only two 
instances of ouk. 8 This gives many examples of si urj corning together 
where urj is simply the negation of the clause. There are a few instances 
where it seems to be ei urj = "except" or "unless." 9 The negative of the 
apodosis is always ouk. Both urj in the protasis and ouk in the 
apodosis are what we would expect. In the protasis, which states a 
potential circumstance, that which might have been, urj is used. Ouk is 



These are the secondary or augmented tenses of the indicative: the imperfect, 
aorist, and pluperfect. 

In about one-sixth of the first class conditions a past tense indicative verb is used 
in the protasis, but the identification is unambiguous because the apodosis is not 
compatible with the second class form. In a few instances (Acts 11:17, Rom 5:15, Eph 
4:21, Rev 20:15) the form of both the protasis and the apodosis could be second class, 
but the sense is clearly not contrary to fact. Of course, this is not unnatural; a simple 
condition (first class) can be used of the past as naturally as of the present and future 
time. 

6 "Av occurs in 36 examples; it is omitted in 1 1 instances. This tendency to omit av 
is characteristic of koine Greek. 

7 In one instance (Luke 19:42) the apodosis is not stated. In two instances (1 Cor 
12:17, 19) the apodosis is a rhetorical question implying the simple statement, "There 
would be none." 

8 Mr| occurs 11 times. The two occurrences of ouk (Matt 26:24, Mark 14:21) are 
actually parallel passages duplicating a single occurrence. 

9 This phenomenon of ei |ir) = "except" or "unless" will be dealth with separately at 
another time. 

There is a negative apodosis in 23 of the 47 examples. Ouk is used in 22 of them, 
ouS' (ou 8e = "not even") in one (Heb 8:4). 



boyer: second class conditions 83 

natural in the apodosis, which expresses nothing doubtful or sub- 
jective, but states matter- of-factly what actually would have been if the 
condition had been true. 

RELATION TO REALITY: CONTRARY TO FACT 

There seems to be no debate on the essential meaning of the 
second class conditional sentence. It states a condition which as a 
matter of fact has not been met and follows with a statement of what 
would have been true if it had. An extended paraphrase in English 
would be, "If this were the case, which it is not, then this would have 
been true, which as a matter of fact, is not." The term "contrary to 
fact" therefore is an accurate descriptive name for this type." 

It must be kept in mind in the use of this descriptive term that 
"contrary to fact" has to do with the statement of the fact, not the 
actual fact itself. The speaker states it as being contrary to fact; he may 
or may not be correct in that statement. Of the 47 NT examples, 39 are 
by Christ or by inspired writers of scripture; in every case, the 
statement is also contrary to fact in actuality. In each of the other 8 
examples, where the speakers were men liable to error, they spoke 
what they believed to be contrary to fact; in two instances they were 
wrong. 12 

A very significant comparison must be made here. In dealing with 
the significance of the first class condition, this distinction between fact 
and statement of fact sometimes has been used to explain those many 
examples where the first class is used in obviously false or uncertain 
statements. 13 However, there is a drastic difference in this respect 
between first and second class. In the first class examples where there is 
a discrepancy between the actual fact and the statement of it, it is not a 
matter of error or ignorance; it is almost always a deliberate statement 
of what is known or considered by the speaker to be false. But in the 
second class, there is not a single instance of stating something as 
contrry to fact which is not so in the judgment of the speaker. He is 
making what he considers a contrary-to-fact statement. There is no 



A. T. Robertson's designation "Determined as Un-Fulfilled" seems also to be a 
valid characterization. The problem with his system of classifying conditional sentences 
lies in his designating the first class "Determined as Fulfilled," which understandably 
has been misinterpreted as the opposite of the second class, therefore "True to Fact." 
See my preceding article: "First Class Conditions: What Do They Mean?" GTJ 2 
(1981) 79-80. 

12 Luke 7:39, John 18:30. 

13 See the discussion in my preceding article, "First Class Conditions," 77-78. 



84 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

such thing as "assuming for the sake of argument" that a statement is 
contrary to fact. To put it in another way, the first class condition is 
not the opposite of the second class. It is not "true to fact" in the sense 
that the second is contrary to fact. 

SIGNIFICANCE OF TENSES 

In dealing with the significance of the tenses used, two factors 
require consideration: first, the fact that only past tenses of the 
indicative are used, and second, the question of the time relation 
involved. 

Only Past Tenses 

Contrary-to-fact conditional sentences are the only type which 
has tense limitation. Why? And why these tenses? The answer will help 
to explain and support the meaning assigned to this type of con- 
struction. 

All conditional sentences by their very nature involve statements 
which may or may not be true. That is what "if" means. The 
uncertainty involved may be due to ignorance, supposition, choice, 
course of events (I call it providence), or simple futurity. If the time 
involved is either present or future, there is always this element of 
uncertainty from the viewpoint of the human speaker (both Greek 
and English are human languages). Only in past time has the uncer- 
tainty become certainty by actual occurrence, and even then it is not 
certain to the speaker until and unless he knows about it. The second 
class condition is one which expresses the "would be" results of a past 
condition known (or thought) to be unfulfilled or contrary to fact. 
Very naturally, then, it uses only past tenses. 

It is instructive to note that this usage is but one example of 
what grammarians have called the "potential" or "unreal" indicative. 
This idiom includes, beside the unreal conditional sentence, such 
other uses of the augmented tenses of the indicative, with or without 
#v, as in courteous or polite language (Acts 25:22, Gal 4:20), in 
expressions of necessity, obligation, possibility, and propriety (Luke 
24:26, Acts 24:19, 1 Cor 5:10), and in cautious statements and 
impossible wishes (Rom 9:3). Even in English we use "ought," 
"would," "could" — past tense forms which are used in many of these 
unreal statements. 14 



14 For a discussion of the idiom, consult the grammars: (classical) Goodwin and 
Gulick, Greek Grammar, 283, 297, Kaegi, Short Grammar, 136, 137, Smyth, Greek 
Grammar, 296; (NT) Dana and Mantey, Manual Grammar, 169, A. T. Robertson, 
Grammar, 918-23, Turner, Syntax, 90-93. 



boyer: second class conditions 85 

Time Reference 

Some grammarians have distinguished two time references in 
second class conditions,, indicated by the tense used in the protasis. 15 
It is claimed that the imperfect tense is used for a statement which is 
presently contrary to fact, the aorist and pluperfect for a past 
contrary-to-fact condition. Is this a valid distinction in NT Greek? 

It should be noted that this, like all considerations dealing with 
Greek tense, is more a matter of aspect or aktionsart than of time. By 
the very nature of the case all contrary-to-fact conditions are to some 
extent past in time. The decision that it is not fulfilled has already 
been made before the sentence is uttered or written. "If you believed 
Moses you would believe me" (John 5:46) is speaking of a present 
situation which is not true; they are not at that moment believing. 
The imperfect tense used is a durative tense. They are in a state of 
unbelieving which is presently continuing but of course it has already 
been in existence long enough to be known as untrue. If the aorist 
had been used in this protasis the sense might have been, "If you had 
(sometime in the past) exercised faith, you would have (now) believed 
me." 

Most NT examples fit well into this distinction. All of those 
using the aorist 16 and the pluperfect 17 are past in time reference, 
properly expressed in English with a past perfect: "If it had been . . . 
it would have been. ..." The case is not quite so clear-cut with the 
imperfect, but even here two-thirds of the examples fit the pattern, 18 
indicating a present time reference, "if it were . . . , it would be. ..." 
Of the nine apparent exceptions, seven 19 are instances of the imperfect 
of the verb eiui. Since this verb has only one past tense (apparently 



Dana and Mantey [289] make the strange assertion that "a contrary to fact 
condition dealing with present time has the imperfect tense in both protasis and 
apodosis ... a contrary to fact condition dealing with past time has the aorist or 
pluperfect tense in both protasis and apodosis," even though two of the examples they 
cite show a mixed use, with different tenses in the two clauses. In view of the fact that 
16 of the NT examples actually show such mixed tenses (9 examples have the imperfect 
in the protasis with aorist or pluperfect in the apodosis; 7 have the reverse situation; all 
but one seem to be past in time reference) this statement obviously is an overstatement. 
If there is any relation between tense and time reference, it is the tense of the protasis 
which must be the determining one. 

"There are 16 examples: Matt 11:21, 11:23, 12:7, 24:22, 26:24, Mark 13:20, 14:21, 
Luke 10:13, 19:42, John 4:10, 15:20, 15:24, Rom 9:29, 1 Cor 2:8, Gal 3:21, Heb 4:8. 

17 There are 4 examples: Matt 24:43, Luke 12:39, John 8:19, Acts 26:32. John 19:11 
is questionable. Cf. my treatment of this verse below. 

18 15 out of 24 examples: Luke 7:39, John 5:46, 8:42,9:33,9:41, 15:19, 18:36, 19:11 
(?), Acts 18:14, 1 Cor 11:31, 12:17, 12:19, Gal. 1:10, Heb 8:4, 8:7. 

19 Matt 23:30, John 11:21, 11:32, 18:30, Gal. 4:15, 1 John 2:19. Also, in John 14:2 
the verb is unexpressed but most naturally it would be r|v, the imperfect of eipi. 



86 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the instrinsically durative aspect of this verb rendered unnecessary the 
development of an aorist and pluperfect conjugation) it is conceivable 
that grammatical constructions which normally called for those tenses 
may have been met by substituting the imperfect. However, aside 
from this rationalization, the basic aspect of the imperfect tense fits 
perfectly in each of the seven cases. While the sense demands that the 
time reference is past, the kind of action is durative in that past time. 

The remaining two apparent exceptions to the general rule under 
consideration may be explained in a similar way. In John 14:28, "if 
you loved me, you would have rejoiced," it seems clear that the time 
reference is- past. Earlier in the verse Christ reminded them of his 
impending departure and return and follows that statement with this 
condition. He was clearly thinking of love as a durative state of being, 
"if you were (at that time) loving me," rather than a specific act of 
love. His use of the imperfect emphasizes this. 

In Rom 7:7 the case is not quite so clear. First, it may be seen as 
a present contrary-to-fact condition: "I would not (now) know lust if 
the law were not continually saying. ..." This would probably be 
easiest grammatically. Even the verb in the apodosis is in sense an 
imperfect, since the verb oi5a is a perfect form with a present 
meaning and its pluperfect form is the corresponding imperfect. But 
the sense resulting is impossible. Or, second, it may be seen as a past 
contrary-to-fact condition: "I would not have known lust if the law 
had not said. ..." If this is the sense, then the imperfect verb would 
be calling attention to the durative aspect: "If the law were not 
continually telling me. . . ," emphasizing the persistent influence of 
Paul's exposure to law-teaching. 

In summary, it seems generally to be true that an imperfect verb 
in the protasis of a second class condition indicates a present-time 
condition and an aorist or pluperfect verb indicates a past-time 
condition. The few apparent exceptions are examples where the 
durative nature of the past-time condition is emphasized by the use of 
the imperfect. But the existence of a considerable number of excep- 
tions points rather to the conclusion that this "rule" works because of 
the durative sense of the imperfect rather than because it was a 
required structural pattern. It is better to approach the meaning by 
giving attention to the aspect of the tenses used rather than to an 
imagined rule. 

Other Noteworthy Examples 

Individual consideration needs to be given to a few examples 
which show some unusual characteristics. 

Luke 17:6. "If you have faith . . . you would be saying ..." The 
protasis has ei with a present indicative verb and is therefore a first 



boyer: second class conditions 87 

class condition. But the apodosis has dv with an imperfect verb, 
which fits the second class pattern. Thus it is cited as an example of 
what grammarians sometimes call a "mixed condition." 20 There is 
nothing inherently unlikely about such a situation, and Nigel Turner 
well explains its peculiar appropriateness in this instance 21 as express- 
ing a subtle politeness which avoided the harshness of saying, "If you 
had faith (which you do not) . . . ," the blunt meaning which would 
have resulted if he had used the full second class form. 22 However, it 
is possible to see an entirely different solution to this unusual 
construction. It is clear that the protasis is first class, a simple 
condition implying nothing as to whether Jesus' hearers actually had 
faith, and thus neither congratulating them nor criticizing them. 
Furthermore, it is clear from multitudes of examples that the apodosis 
of a first class condition may be of any form (declarative, hortatory, 
command, promise, rhetorical question, wish, etc.). A normal usage 
of dv with the imperfect which is not a second class apodosis does 
exist; it may well be the "potential" use of past tense indicatives for 
courteous or polite language or to express present necessity, obliga- 
tion, possibility, or propriety. 23 Applying this grammatical usage to 
this passage, the sense becomes, in expanded paraphrase, "If you 
have faith, you could say to this mountain. . . ," or, "it would be right 
and proper for you to say. . . ," or, "if you have faith there is nothing 
you cannot ask for." 

John 8:39. "If you are Abraham's children, you would be doing 
the works of your father" may also be an example of a mixed 
condition, with a first class protasis to soften the harshness of the 
statement. The textual tradition would suggest this understanding, 
whether the United Bible Society preferred reading enoieiie or the 
Byzantine text dv ercoieTcE is followed. In this instance, the explana- 
tion of the apodosis as a potential indicative, suggested for the 
preceding example, is not agreeable to the sense. Another reading, the 
imperative Troieiie, followed by the NASB, would be a regular first 
class condition. 

Heb 11:15. "If they were remembering the place from which they 
went out, they would have an opportunity to return" also involves a 
textual variation. The apodosis is clearly of the second class. In the 



* A. T. Robertson, Grammar, 1022. 
N. Turner, Grammatical Insights into the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. &. T. 
Clark. 1965) 51-52. 

"See my note on Turner's questionable understanding of the significance of the 
first class condition as reflected in his treatment of this passage in my preceding article, 
"First Class Conditions," 81, n. 17. 

"See my discussion of this idiom earlier in this article. Also, R. Law, "Imperfect 
of 'Obligation' etc., in the NT.," Exp T 30 (1919), 330ff. 



88 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

UBS text the protasis has its verb in the present indicative and is thus 
of the first class. But the Byzantine text, accepted here by Westcott 
and Hort, has the imperfect tense, making the whole a normal second 
class condition. Here the time reference is actually past, even though 
imperfects, according to the rule discussed earlier, would be con- 
sidered by some to signal a present contrary to fact. Perhaps the 
writer uses this "present" form from the same vantage point as in the 
preceding verse, which uses the "historical present" to express vividly 
a past situation. Or perhaps the present time reference in both verses 
is the "gnomic present"; it is always or characteristically true that if 
someone keeps looking back there are opportunities to go back. The 
use of the durative imperfect stresses the continuing situation: "if they 
were remembering . . . they would be having continuing opportunity 
to return." 

John 19:11. "You would have no authority over me if it had not 
been given you from above." The problem here also is the time 
reference. If the verb of the protasis is taken as f\v 5e5ouevov, a 
periphrastic pluperfect, then the time reference would be past, "If it 
had not been given ... ."If the verb is understood to be r\v alone, with 
the perfect participle functioning as a predicate adjective, then the 
imperfect verb might be signaling a present contrary to fact: "if it 
were not (now) an authority which has been given you. . . " It is 
probably a distinction without a difference. In either case, the imper- 
fect in the apodosis indicates the present situation. 



THE ETHICS OF INFLATION: 
A BIBLICAL CRITIQUE OF THE 
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES* 



William J. Larkin, Jr. 



Inflation is the creation of excess purchasing media or credit 
beyond that which represents the wealth, the production of goods and 
services, of a country. It violates the biblical commands to have just 
weights and not steal. Its immoral consequences are the oppression of 
the poor, especially the elderly; the promotion of sloth and covetous- 
ness; and the de stabilization of society. 



INTRODUCTION 

Inflation has become a main feature of most national economies 
around the world. Aside from the notable exceptions of Switzer- 
land (1.3%) and West Germany (4%), most inflation rates during the 
mid and late 1970s hovered near the double digit mark. 1 For the past 
ten years the cumulative rate of inflation has been 112.9% in the 
U.S.A. In order to maintain the same after-tax disposable income, 
with the same buying power, a person who earned $7,500 in 1970 
would have to receive $16,188 today. If inflation continues at the 
same rate for the next decade, that person would have to be earning 
$39,188 in 1990 to be as well off as he was with $7,500 in 1970. 2 In 
fact, if the performance of personal income growth over the past 
decade is any indication, the U.S. wage earner will be able neither to 
maintain the size of his after-tax income nor its buying power after 
the effects of inflation. Tax Foundation research has discovered that 
for the typical family of four the median income has increased from 



This paper was originally given at the 1980 annual meeting of the Evangelical 
Theological Society and reflects the economic conditions of that time. 

'"Is Inflation Really Coming Under Control?" U.S. News and World Report 83 
(October 17, 1977) 80. 

2 "The Double Whammy of Taxes and Inflation," U.S. News and World Report 89 
(July 14, 1980) 47. 



90 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

$9,750 in 1970 to $19,950 this year, i.e., 105%. Taxes rose at a faster 
pace, so that after-tax income only grew from $8,412 ten years ago to 
$16,999 today, i.e., 99%. When the present median after-tax income is 
adjusted for inflation and represented in 1970 dollars, it is $7,976. 
This means that, even though today the head of the household is 
earning 105% more dollars than in 1970, the typical family of four is 
actually less well off by $436 (1970 dollars). 3 Most persons react to 
such facts and figures with the sentiment expressed by a housewife on 
a recent TV commercial, "I'm no longer trying to beat inflation. I'd 
settle for a tie." 

What causes inflation? Is it a combination of impersonal forces 
in the present national and world economic systems over which 
individuals have no control? Or, is inflation the result of the decisions 
of individuals in a position to influence the direction of our economic 
life? If it is the latter, then it is legitimate to investigate the causes and 
consequencs of the act of "inflation creation." And it is appropriate in 
the light of biblical ethical norms to critique these aspects of inflation. 

A simple definition of inflation is an increase in the supply of 
money, purchasing media, in an economy which exceeds the increase 
in the value of goods and services produced. Inflation shows itself as 
constantly rising wages and prices. Indeed, in an inflationary econ- 
omy wages and prices increase at a rate greater than the increase in 
productivity. For example, in the United States, average non-farm 
business wages were going up in the late 1970s at an annual rate of 
8.5-9%. 5 Productivity on the part of the workers, however, was only 
going up 2%. In order to meet their payrolls, companies had to 
increase their prices not 2%, which would have been in line with the 
industries' true, increased productivity, but 8.5-9%. From the wages 
perspective this means that 6.5-7% more dollars were rewarding the 
same level of productivity. From the price perspective, it means that 
6.5-7% more dollars were chasing the same amount of goods and 
services on the market. Where did this excess of purchasing media 
come from? To answer that question is to identify the cause of 
inflation. 



MONEY AND PURCHASING MEDIA 

Before we can intelligibly identify the cause of inflation, it is 
necessary to review a basic definition of money and purchasing media 



L. Cook. "Real Income Less than in 1970, Study Shows," Vie State 89 (October 
18, 1980) 1. 

4 Cf. F. H. Popell, "How Inflation undermines Morality," Business Week (May 5, 
1980) 20; J. Train, "Moral Fever Chart," Forbes 125 (May 26, 1980) 150-51. 

5 U.S. News and World Report 83 (October 17, 1977) 81. 



larkin: ethics of inflation 91 

and the sources of their generation in our economy. Webster's New 
World Dictionary (1975) 6 presents in its first definition of money the 
popular understanding of the term. It defines money as "stamped 
pieces of metal, or any paper notes, authorized by a government as a 
medium of exchange." To the popular mind money is the coins and 
paper bills used for daily economic transactions. But there is another 
definition of money which Webster lists second. Money is "wealth." 
To understand inflation one must think of money according to this 
second definition. To distinguish money as wealth, a medium of 
exchange of economic value, from money as coinage and paper 
currency, we are going to designate these latter items as purchasing 
media. This will also enable us to relate these two phenomena in our 
discussion of the role of each in America's modern banking and 
finance system. 

Money, then, is a medium of exchange of economic value, 
wealth. In an economic system, the members labor in the production 
of goods and services. As a payment for their labor they receive 
money, something of equal value to the labor they have contributed. 
This money then becomes a claim check when the laborer turns 
consumer. He can use it to purchase goods and services from the 
economy's marketplace. Outside of a barter economy, where payment 
is made in kind, the commodity which a society decides to use as 
money must have four characteristics. It must be storable. It must be 
divisible into units. It must be relatively stable in quantity over time 
so that it may serve as a standard in terms of which to reckon the 
value of other goods and services, whose quantity fluctuates. Most 
importantly, it must be recognized as having a store of economic 
value. That is, it must be universally recognized as having intrinsic 
economic worth. Precious metals such as gold and silver meet these 
requirements and throughout much of economic history have been 
used as jrioney. 7 

In modern times the use of paper as purchasing media to 
represent money developed. As the precious metals money began to 

6 Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, ed. D. B. Guralink, 
(New revised pocket-size edition; New York: Popular Library, 1975) 389. 

7 The intrinsic economic value of precious metals stems from two characteristics. 
First, it takes much labor to wrest the ore from the ground. Miners sift through a ton 
of earth and rock to extract an average 0. 17 ounce of gold (E. & P. O. d'Aulaire, "All 
That Glitter— It's Gold!" Reader's Digest 117, No. 703 [November, 1980] 99). This 
labor invests intrinsic economic value in the metal. Second, the property of being 
virtually indestructible gives longevity, if not eternity, to the metal and commends itself 
to mankind as something precious. O. A. Piper (The Christian Meaning of Money 
[Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1965] 5) claims that gold's "numinous" char- 
acter, its being regarded in ancient times as a manifestation of deity on earth, is what 
gave it its value. 



92 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

accumulate, societies developed storehouses, banks, where that money 
could be kept safely. These banks issued paper certificates to the 
customer who could then use the paper as a purchasing medium in 
his business transactions. There was no inherent economic value in 
the paper. What it represented, the precious metal in storage, was 
what had value. Each piece of paper was assigned a weight unit of a 
precious metal which it represented, e.g., one dollar originally was 
1/20 of an ounce of gold. As modern commercial banking matured in 
the last century in the United States, it devised a way to expand the 
amount of paper certificates in circulation so that they would repre- 
sent the increase in the goods and services produced beyond the 
supply of precious metals on deposit. Banks issued commercial loans 
in the form of short term notes to industries so that businessmen 
could pay wages and other expenses of production which were due as 
the goods were on their way to market. These loans, equal to the 
value of the goods and services produced, would release purchasing 
media into the economy. Thus these loans would allow the supply of 
purchasing media to increase equivalent to the real growth in wealth, 
economic value, of the economy. For example, between 1865 and 
1940 wholesale and retail trade multiplied more than 20 times. The 
commercial short term loan procedure provided the purchasing media 
to cover this expansion even though the U.S. gold stock grew only 10 
times. In fact, fifty times the purchasing media was in circulation in 
1940 as was presented in 1865. This covered the country's increase in 
productivity — wealth — over that period. 

Today, however, the banking system operates with a different 
understanding of the nature of purchasing media. It still functions as 
a medium of exchange. But no longer is it thought necessary to have 
money, i.e., a fixed amount of precious metal, backing each unit of 
the purchasing media. In 1934 the United States went off the gold 
standard internally. This meant that citizens could no longer ex- 
change paper certificates for gold. Since then, the government has not 
consistently maintained a fixed relationship between the precious 
metal, with its store of economic value, and the paper issued. With 
gold prices in the $500-$600 of an ounce range, today a dollar will 
buy not 1/20 but only 1/600 of an ounce of gold. In 1971 the 
government decided no longer to exchange gold for dollars when 
foreign governments so requested. As every piece of paper purchasing 
media now attests, it is no longer a silver or gold certificate which a 
citizen could exchange for the equivalent amount of the precious 
metal. Rather, it is a note. The pieces of purchasing media declare 
themselves to be "legal tender for all debts, public and private." If 
there is no recognized backing, how can these notes continue to 
function as purchasing media for economic transactions? They can be 



larkin: ethics of inflation 93 

used "because the government decrees it is money, and because we all 
accept it." 8 It is the public's confidence in the strength of the 
American economy and how well the government is able to maintain 
a stable money supply which determines the public's continuing 
acceptance of government-issued purchasing media without precious 
metals backing and convertibility. 

Why did the government, with advice from economists and 
bankers, introduce this redefinition of purchasing media? Why was 
the discipline of a precious metals standard removed? In the midst of 
an economic depression in the 1930s such a step was taken to allow 
the expansion of credit in the private sector of the economy in the 
hope that this would foster continued investment as well as ongoing 
consumer demand in the economy. It was hoped that these in turn 
would assure continuing growth and prosperity for the economy. 
Such a move permitted unchecked government deficit spending, also 
for the purpose of stimulating the economy. 

Actually, the removal of the gold standard was the logical result 
of a practice which bankers had engaged in for some time. They 
noticed that when the precious metals, gold and silver, were deposited 
with them and certificates were issued, very few of the certificates 
were ever cashed in for the metal. The customers were content to 
trade paper certificates among themselves. Bankers, with an eye to 
profit, could not let those assests in gold and silver lie idle. They put 
them to work by offering to loan out at interest other certificates 
(actually, paper notes) which were backed by the same metal. They 
would treat some of their assets in gold as a reserve to cover any 
demand they might encounter, but they would feel free to offer the 
rest in the form of certificates as loans. Putting more paper certifi- 
cates in circulation than there was gold in storage tended to cheapen 
the value of all the paper certificates. As William Simon, former 
Secretary of the Treasury, explains, "When you produce too much of 
anything, the price goes down." 9 The extent of such expansion of 
credit today may be illustrated by the following example. Currently, 
the reserve requirement on demand deposits, checking accounts, for 
member banks of the Federal Reserve ranges from 7% to 16.25% 
depending on the total size of the demand deposit assets. If one 
took a 16% reserve figure and calculated the amount of loan which 
could be generated by demand deposits of $100 million, the final total 



8 P. A. Samuelson, Economics: Introductory Analysis (New York: McGraw-Hill, 
1964) 274. 

'"Carter Lacks Political Courage to Attack Inflation" (interview with William E. 
Simon), U.S. News and World Report 84 (April 24, 1978) 23. 

10 Federal Reserve Bulletin (September, 1980) A-8. 



94 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

would be $600 million, six times the original assets. 11 While there was 
a gold standard and the option of converting paper certificates into 
gold, alert citizens could respond to the overextension of credit by 
cashing in their certificates for the metal. In this way discipline would 
be restored and the money supply (amount of purchasing media) 
stabilized. By removing the convertibility option the likelihood of 
rapid deflation and runs on banks decreased, but the discipline was 
also removed. 

The value of the gold standard for creating price stability can be 
demonstrated historically. The following is a list of periods of cur- 
rency stability for European powers who were on the gold standard 
during the nineteenth century. 

France 1814 to 1914 100 years 

Netherlands 1861 to 1914 98 years 

Great Britain 1821 to 1914 93 years 

Switzerland 1850 to 1936 86 years 

Belgium 1832 to 1914 82 years 12 

The American experience has been similar. During the fifteen 
years after America's return to the gold standard in 1879, prices were 
non-inflationary. In fact, they even declined 33%, correcting the 
inflation of the previous post-Civil War period. But this price decline 
was not at the expense of industrial productivity. During this period, 
industrial production increased at the most rapid rate (6% annually) 
for the most prolonged time in the nation's history. 13 

Even before the United States went off the gold standard, the 
federal government had devised a way to add purchasing media to the 
money supply which did not represent a growth in the nation's 
productivity. This way was the open-market operations of the Federal 
Reserve System created in 1913. When the Federal Reserve Board's 
Open Market Committee sees that the total money supply is not 
growing at a rate it deems sufficient to sustain economic growth, it 
purchases government securities. It pays for them with a check 
backed by Federal Reserve notes. In this way, purchasing media 
which does not represent wealth in terms of precious metals on 
deposit or increased productivity is introduced into the money supply. 
The Federal Reserve can also contract the money supply by selling 
securities, causing the reverse of the generation process to occur. 



"How Money is 'Created' Out of Nothing," Reader's Digest 14, No. 681 
(January, 1979) 53. 

12 J. T. Gibbs, ed., "Why Gold?" Economic Education Bulletin 12, No. 5 (1972) 2. 
13 Ibid., 23. 



larkin: ethics of inflation 95 

The Federal Reserve system adds purchasing media to the money 
supply in another way. It is the vehicle through which government 
deficit spending is monetized. The Federal Reserve supplies the 
federal government with newly created purchasing media to cover 
that portion of government deficit spending which the government 
has not provided for by borrowing from individual and private 
investors in the money market. Again, this purchasing media is 
simply created by the government and does not represent any real 
wealth in terms of precious metals on deposit or growth in the 
nation's productivity. 

MONEY IN BIBLICAL TIMES 

Since we wish to evaluate these financial practices by biblical 
ethical norms, it is necessary to describe the nature and function of 
money in Bible times. The medium of exchange for economic trans- 
actions went through three developmental stages during the history 
covered by the Bible. First, men did business by barter (1 Kgs 5:10- 
11). Second, people exchanged metal (gold, silver, copper, iron) for 
desired objects or to pay tribute (Gen 23:13-17; Deut 24:14-15). 
Third, a coinage, minted metal of fixed weight and purity, came into 
use. This third method was not used until the exile (Ezra 2:69) and 
continued through NT times. The most detailed descriptions of 
business transactions involving money occur before the exile and 
reflect the second stage of economic transactions. The practice was to 
give the price of a good in so many weight units of metal (e.g., four 
hundred shekels of silver, Gen 23:16; 47:15; 2 Sam 24:24). Then, if 
agreeable to both parties, the buyer would weigh out in a scale his 
silver or gold in the form of ingots, bars, tongues (Josh 7:21), heads 
of animals, or jewelry such as bracelets and rings (Gen 24:53; Exod 
22:6; Judg 8:24; Isa 61:10). The weight, against which the quantity of 
silver or gold was determined, was a weight of bronze, iron, or 
dressed stone. The purchase of the cave at Machpelah was concluded 
as follows (Gen 24:14-16): 

Then Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, "My lord, listen to 
me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that 
between me and you? So bury your dead." And Abraham listened to 
Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had 
named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of 
silver, commercial standard. 



14 H. Hamburger, "Money, Coins," IDB 3, 423ff. 



96 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

This transaction shows that the basic understanding and use of 
money was as a medium of exchange of economic value. Precious 
metals divided into weight units seem to have a recognized economic 
store value which enabled them to be used as a standard for measur- 
ing and expressing the value of goods and services (1 Kgs 21:2). 
Purity and weight were checked to make sure that the quality and 
quantity of the metal offered did indeed match the value or price 
assigned to the goods for which it was exchanged. The transaction 
was a step beyond barter, but an important step. A recognized 
medium of exchange gave the buyer more freedom of choice in his 
purchasing (Deut 14:25-26). Yet, since the metal was not yet minted 
coinage, the cumbersome task of checking the weight of the metal for 
each transaction was still necessary. This stage of economic trans- 
action, then, clearly revealed the close connection between economic 
value and medium of exchange. All prices were given in the weight 
units of a precious metal. 

WHAT CAUSES INFLATION? 

With this understanding of money and purchasing media and the 
sources of their generation, let us return to our basic question: What 
causes inflation? What is the source of the excessive amount of 
purchasing media in the money supply? From our description of the 
way purchasing media are generated in" our economy, the answers 
come readily. The banking community's practice of overextending 
credit, namely loaning out checking account money on more than a 
short-term commercial loan basis, causes inflation. The low reserve 
requirements allow the credit offerings to generate an amount of 
purchasing media six times the value of the original assets. 

Second, the Federal Reserve is a special source of excess pur- 
chasing media when it buys government securities and issues, "creates," 
unbacked purchasing media to pay for them. These payments in- 
crease banking assets which can then be loaned out and which 
participate in the purchasing media generation process. For the first 
six months of 1980 the Federal Open Market Committee has over- 
seen a growth in the money supply which equals an annual rate of 
2.8%. 15 But the growth in productivity for the first six months of 1980 
is only at an annual rate of -3.95%. 16 It should be noted that in the 
third quarter the money supply was again advancing at a annual rate 
of 17.2%. 

''"Blaming the Fed: Why it's in Hot Water," U.S. News and World Report 89 
(October 20, 1980) 78. 

""'Mid-Year Outlook: When will business bounce back?" U.S. News and World 
Report 89 (July 14, 1980) 20; "More Fuel for Backers of Tax Cut," U.S. News and 
World Report 89 (July 28, 1980) 56. 



larkin: ethics of inflation 97 

Third, purchasing media is added to the money supply which 
does not represent an increase in the economy's output, when the 
federal government chooses to finance its deficit spending by mone- 
tizing the debt through the Federal Reserve System. Of the present 
$870 billion federal deficit, $118.8 billion has been funded by the 
Federal Reserve System. 17 Milton Friedman's conclusion is valid. The 
federal government is the engine of inflation, "the only one there 
is." 18 

With this heavy emphasis on the banking community's credit 
practices and the causes of inflation, the personal dimension is being 
ignored. This discussion has bypassed the individual because he is not 
the immediate cause of inflation. No individual citizen can create 
purchasing media not representing a real increase in productivity. 
Only the federal government or banks can do that. Now it is true that 
greed, motivating individuals to live beyond their means through 
credit buying, has created a climate of demand to which banks have 
responded with inflationary credit practices. And it is true that special 
interest groups have demanded government transfer payments and 
supported deficit financing as the way to pay for them. And politi- 
cians have yielded to these pressures and let inflation, not government 
revenue collections, do the taxing. Individual greed in these two ways 
is responsible ultimately for inflation. But, because this greed, often 
called "inflationary expectations," is so often identified as a direct 
cause of inflation and the banking and federal government practices 
are so often ignored, this discussion is concentrating on the direct 
causes of inflation. Indeed, individual greed has existed throughout 

17 "Public Debt heads toward $1 trillion," U.S. News and World Report 89 (July 
28, 1980) 55; cf. T. C. Gaines, Techniques of Treasury Debt Management (New York: 
The Graduate School of Columbia University and Free Press of Glencoe, 1962) 240-42. 
"Milton Friedman Interview," Newsweek 91 (May 29, 1978) 81. Some econo- 
mists will object and call such an idenfification "an oversimplification" (Paul A. 
Samuelson Interview, Newsweek 91 [May 29, 1978] 81). Michael Blumenthal, former 
Secretary of the Treasury, contends, "It is too easy to simply point to government and 
say, 'You do your job properly and we wouldn't have inflation'" (U.S. News and 
World Report 84 [April 24, 1978] 21). While he admits the government's partial 
responsibility, he also points to other causal factors: wage settlements which exceed 
productivity, excessive profits, OPEC oil prices, and the weather. It is difficult to 
maintain that corporations are indeed making excessive real profits in this inflationary 
time. The weather has not been a consistently significant factor. The remaining two 
causes, wage and prices while they may contribute to the upward inflationary push do 
so only in reaction to the inflationary situation of too much money present to buy too 
few goods. They do not create the money. Rather, the excess money creates the 
opportunity for wage settlements in excess of productivity. If such money were not 
present in the economy, the wage earners could not be paid it, for nobody would be 
able to afford the higher prices which the employer must charge on his product in 
order to meet his inflated payroll. High wages and prices are a reaction to, not a cause 
of, inflation. 



98 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

human history both in times of inflation and times of price stability. 
It is a given of man's sinful nature (Mark 7:20-23). To concentrate 
exclusively or primarily on it as the cause of inflation will prevent one 
from focusing on an ethical evaluation of the immediate causes and 
developing a perspective from which one can find a solution. 

A BIBLICAL EVALUATION OF INFLATION 

How may these three causes of inflation be evaluated biblically? 
Two ethical norms, taught in Scripture, come into play. 

Just weights 

First, the Lord directs the Israelites to use just weights in their 
economic dealings (Lev 19:35-36; Deut 25:13-16). They should not 
carry in their bags stones of varying weights which are marked as 
being the same weight. This command was intended to prevent a 
person from measuring out on the scales produce with the use of a 
light weight, thus providing in the exchange less than full weight, or 
full value. Such practices were evidently a problem throughout 
Israel's history, for Micah records God's question in judgment (Micah 
6:10-12): 

Is there yet a man in the wicked house, along with treasures of 
wickedness, and a short measure that is cursed? Can I justify wicked 
scales and a bag of deceptive weights? For the rich men of the city are 
full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in 
their mouth. 

God's hatred of such practices is so great that he calls them an 
abomination (Deut 25:16; Prov 20:10-23), a term usually reserved for 
his evaluation of idols and false worship (Deut 7:25-26; 12:31; 13:14; 
17:4; 18:9, 12; 20:18; 27:15; 32:16). On the other hand, to use just and 
full weights brings a promise of blessing, "that your days may be 
prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you" (Deut 
25:15). 

This command applies not simply to barter exchange but also to 
transactions involving the weighing out of the recognized medium of 
exchange, precious metals. As we have noted, in ancient Israel before 
the exile, the value or price of goods was stated in terms of units of 
weight of a precious metal, silver (50 shekels of silver, 2 Sam 24:24). 
The transaction was accomplished when the silver was weighed out 
(Gen 23:16; Exod 22:17; Jer 32:9-10; cf. Ezra 8:25-26, 28, 30, 33). If 
the weights were not their proper weight, if they were too light, then 
the amount of silver exchanged for the goods would be too little. The 



larkin: ethics of inflation 99 

weight unit of money, a shekel of silver, in that transaction would in 
effect be devalued. 

Our modern money and banking system with its purchasing 
media in the form of paper money and its computerized ledgers seems 
very far removed from a pre-coinage economy assumed by this 
biblical directive. How can a command which envisions two men 
dickering, striking a bargain, producing scales and weights to deter- 
mine the price in crude pieces of metal, be legitimately applicable to a 
twentieth-century paper money economy? The command can be 
binding because the basic elements in the economic exchange are still 
the same. Today a buyer presents some units of purchasing media, 
paper money, equal in value to the desired goods, and exchanges 
them with the seller for the goods. Every part of the transaction has 
an equivalent in the pre-coinage economy. The one difference is the 
nature of the value that is attached to the purchasing media. Since it 
has no backing in terms of precious metal, its value is not stated in 
terms of weight units of a given metal. Rather, the value is simply 
represented by the number of units printed on the face of the paper 
bill. And the possibility of changing the value of the paper is present 
as it was when Old Testament traders had to weigh out precious 
metal. As one made the same amount of silver go further by using a 
"light" weight unit, so one can make the same unit of purchasing 
media go further by printing more pieces of paper of the same 
denomination (e.g., $10). The result is the same. Each piece of paper 
is actually worth less than the value assigned to it just as a "light 
weighted" amount of precious metal actually weighs and therefore is 
worth less than its stated weight unit. 

This practice of changing money's value has been present at all 
the developmental stages of business transactions. When ancient 
societies developed coinage as a medium of exchange, the government 
determined and then guaranteed the weight and purity of amounts of 
the precious metal by fashioning them into coins stamped with the 
unit of currency. The government could change the value of a given 
coin by clipping the coin so that the weight was actually less than 
what was stated on the coin. Another method was to mix the precious 
metal with a base metal. For example, about a.d. 64 Nero "slightly 
debased the denarius (silver) raising the percentage of base metal to 
about 10 per cent and reduced the weight of both coins (silver and 
gold), the denarius to one ninety-sixth of a pound (from one eighty- 
fourth), the aureus (gold) to one forty-fifth (from one forth-second)." 19 

A. H. M. Jones, "Inflation under the Roman Empire," The Roman Economy: 
Studies in Ancient Economic and Administrative History (ed. P. A. Brunt; Oxford: 
Basil Blackwell, 1974) 191. 



100 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

By either method the result was money whose value was debased or 
lessened. Though the monetary unit remained the same, the amount 
of silver or gold had been reduced, and hence also the economic store 
of value. 

When modern societies developed paper purchasing media as a 
medium of exchange, the possibility of decreasing the value of any 
given unit of currency did not cease. In fact the procedure was greatly 
simplified. No longer were "light" false weights necessary. A govern- 
ment did not even have to take the trouble to clip or add a base metal 
to the coinage. All the government had to do was to introduce into 
the money supply more purchasing media than represented the value 
of the productivity of the nation. This had and has the same effect of 
lessening the value of each denominated paper bill or dollar credited 
to a checking of savings acount, as if that dollar value in metal or 
coin form had been lessened in weight. Therefore, it is quite legitimate 
to apply the biblical command against false weights to this govern- 
mental practice of introducing excess purchasing media into the 
money supply whether by fiscal (deficit financing) or monetary 
(Federal Reserve Open Market operations) means. The overextension 
of credit by the banking community with the government sanction 
also violates this biblical command. In sum, a debasing of a medium 
of exchange, whether a piece of precious metal falsely weighed, a 
coined clipped or combined with a base metal, or a piece of paper 
whose numbers are multiplied through the deficit financing or mone- 
tary stimulation process, is a defrauding, a lying, which is an 
abomination to the Lord. 

Theft 

The second biblical norm which one should apply to this infla- 
tionary process is the eighth command: "Thou shalt not steal" 
(Exod 20:15). When excess purchasing media which do not represent 
the value of goods and services produced are introduced into the 
economy, it must get its value somewhere. In everyday business 
transactions one cannot distinguish a piece of paper which does not 
represent the value of goods and services produced from one which 
does. Both will be used in the marketplace to buy goods and services. 
Therefore, both will be treated as representing economic value. But 
the presence of the excess means that each piece of paper money must 
now represent a smaller portion of the economic value of productivity. 
For instance, let us picture the economy as a table with $100 of goods 
and services produced on it. Five laborers who contributed equally to 
this production each have $20 to spend on these goods. The govern- 
ment gives excess purchasing media in the amount of $20 each to two 
other persons who now come to the table. The same goods and 



larkin: ethics of inflation 101 

services can now command $140. But the laborer's buying power has 
decreased from being able to claim 20% of the market goods to being 
able to buy 14%. In effect, 6% of value has been stolen from one 
citizen and given to another. Between 1940 and 1975, the total loss of 
wealth or value of saving accounts in the United States due to 
inflation was $1.6 trillion, that is, a total of $38,900 per American 
family for the period, or $1,081 per family per year. 20 

Because the government issues much of the monetized deficit in 
transfer payments to special need groups, inflation is actually a 
method for redistribution of wealth. Those who contribute little or 
nothing to the nation's productivity receive money whose value has 
actually been stolen away from the value of others' hard-earned 
dollars. Those who recognize that this is happening and approve of it 
do not hesitate to call it redistribution. "The recent redistribution of 
income through inflation may test our national resolve to help the 
poor, elderly, disadvantaged, and dispossessed at home and abroad." 21 
An area in which this redistribution is taking place is higher educa- 
tion. 22 College tuition rose for the 1980-81 academic year 15.6% at 
private colleges, 9.9% at public universities. The current federal 
government aid commitment to students is $4.4 billion. According to 
an administrator at Fordham, "the working poor and the struggling 
middle class are being squeezed out of private schools," since the aid 
goes primarily to low income students. J. A. Crowl of the Chronicle of 
Higher Education concludes, "Middle-class students who would have 
gone to private colleges may end up in public institutions or 
community colleges." Inflation caused by deficit spending, on the one 
hand, prices private colleges out of the market for working poor and 
middle class students. On the other hand, a portion of that deficit is 
federal grants to low income students who may then use it to attend 
private colleges. A redistribution of wealth and opportunity has 
occurred. 

Such an analysis is not intended to say that the government 
should not help "the poor, elderly, disadvantaged, and dispossessed." 
It is rather the method which is being called "stealing." Instead of 
balancing the budget by having taxes match spending and in that way 
redistribute wealth to the poor and disadvantaged through the con- 
sent of the governed, the Congress chooses to let inflation do the 
taxing and redistributing of the wealth without the people having a 
direct say. Therein lies the breaking of the eighth commandment. 

20 E. C. Harwood, The Money Mirage (Hamilton, Bermuda: Freedom Trust 
1976) 8-9. 

21 J. W. Kuhn, "Inflation and the Middle," Christianity and Crisis 35 (June 9, 
1975) 134. 

""Inflation Watch," Business Week (September 15, 1980) 40-41. 



102 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 



CONSEQUENCES OF INFLATION 



Three major conseqences of inflation need to be evaluated by 
biblical teaching. First, inflation oppresses the poor, especially the 
elderly on fixed incomes. Second, it destroys the ethical values which 
govern economic life. Third, inflation destabilizes national life. 

In 1970 an adequate annual retirement income included $9,000 
(private pension funds) plus Social Security. By 1977 because of 
inflation that income had experienced a 25% drop in buying power. 
This was true even though the Social Security benefits had increased 
by 98%. If the 1970s rate of inflation (7.4%) obtains for the 1980s 
(currently the nation is running at a 12% rate), by 1985 the buying 
power for private pension funds will decrease to one-third of its 
original 1970 value. 23 Inflation is clearly oppressing the elderly on 
fixed incomes by silently robbing the value of their savings for 
retirement. Ironically, the very people which the government is trying 
to aid through cost-of-living increases in Social Securities benefits are 
actually being hurt. For these Social Security increases are largely 
funded by inflation-causing deficit spending. The Scripture clearly 
teaches that it is wrong to oppress (Exod 22:21-24; Jer 7:6; 22:3; Zech 
7:10) or prevent justice (Deut 24:17; 27:19) for the widow. The widow 
of biblical times and the elderly on fixed income today are in very 
much the same economic position. They both are dependent on 
saving or aid from others to support themselves. Therefore, it is 
legitimate to apply these censures to this consequence of inflation. 
One must not forget, however, that care for the widow, orphan, and 
alien was also enjoined (Deut 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:19-21; 26:12-13). 
But it was never to be done in such a way that what was justly due 
them was withheld. God declares himself to be especially concerned 
for protecting (Prov 15:25; Ps 146:9), caring for (Jer 49:11), and 
executing justice for the widow (Deut 10:18; cf. Isa 1:17). The 
economically helpless need support, preferably through the family, 
then the church (1 Tim 3:3-16). If the government has a role it should 
not be by a method which increases the burden on the elderly through 
inflation which brings an even higher cost of living. 

Inflation also destroys ethical values which should govern eco- 
nomic life. F. Harvey Popell, who has twenty years experience with 
Latin America's inflationary economies, comments: 

In an inflationary economy, on the one hand, moral values of honesty, 
industry, and saving are not only no guarantee at all of a solid future. 



' "Inflation is wrecking the private pension system," Business Week (May 12, 
1980) 92. 



larkin: ethics of inflation 103 

but such values may indeed represent an irrational course of action. 
This phenomenon is most clearly seen in the case of saving. Why save 
for a rainy day when one's savings won't buy an umbrella when 
needed? But the problem is equally evident in other areas. Why be 
scrupulously honest and keep one's shoulder to the wheel seeking long- 
term personal growth when there is no long term on the horizon? A 
more rational approach would be to try to get as much as you can, as 
fast as you can, with as little effort as you can, almost any way you 
can. 

What does this mean? For the work force it means throwing out the 
window the old concept of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. What 
pay is fair when you and your family are constantly playing (and 
invariably losing) catch-up with prices? 24 

Biblical teaching supports the moral values of industry and 
savings (delayed consumption) and condemns their opposites — sloth 
and covetousness. In the OT the wisdom literature praises the virtue 
of diligence in labor as a precious possession (Prov 12:27) which will 
bring its reward in material possessions (Prov 10:4; 12:24; 21:5). The 
NT encourages the same virtue but with a different motive, service to 
the ultimate employer, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 6:6; Col 3:23). A 
Christian should work 8K V|/uxfjc;, with all his soul, heartily, as to the 
Lord. The negative quality, sloth, is roundly condemned in Proverbs. 
Its end result is poverty (Prov 6:6, 9; 19:25; 24:30-34). Its chief drive is 
covetous craving (Prov 13:4; 21:25-26; 26:13-16). The slothful person 
desires to receive economic rewards without having contributed his 
labor to their production. Inflation tends to destroy the connection 
between productivity and wages in a person's thought about his 
remuneration. He comes to expect a "cost of living" pay raise in order 
to keep pace with inflation whether his productivity has increased or 
not. Such expectations reinforce the value of sloth since one receives 
more pay for the same or less work. 25 They do not encourage the 
value of all-out effort and diligence. Inflation, which creates the 
climate for such expectations, must be judged unbiblical. 

An inflationary economy also encourages the value of covetous 
consumption and destroys the virtue of saving. If prices are never 
going to be lower than they are today, then it is wiser to spend now 
and even borrow to spend, than to save. Inflation will allow one to 



24 Popell, Business Week (May 5, 1980) 20. 

25 Cf. John Train's analysis: "The relative inflation rate seems to me to be a 
symptom, a fever chart on the industriousness and realism of the body politic, of the 
civic-mindedness of the people, and one has to deal with the syndrome, not the 
symptom" (Forbes 125 [May 26, 1980] 150). Train contends that when you take more 
out of a system than you put into it, a fever results. This is what inflation does. 



104 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

pay back in cheaper dollars. The Scriptures clearly warn against 
greed and covetousness, beginning with the tenth commandment 
(Exod 20:17). Jesus teaches us to beware of it, for our lives are not 
the sum total of what we possess (Mark 7:33; Luke 12:15). The NT 
writers see it as idolatry, a characteristic of the unregenerate life, the 
root of all kinds of evil (Eph 4:19; 5:30; Col 3:5; 1 Tim 6:10; 2 Pet 
2:14; Heb 13:5). On the other hand, delayed consumption in the form 
of savings and charitable giving to others is the way the Christian 
should use his economic resources. Savings is assumed in the directive 
that a person is reponsible to provide for his family and if he does not 
he is "worse than an unbeliever" (1 Tim 5:8). Although strictly 
speaking immediate charitable giving is not the same as savings, in 
that money is spent and not saved, it does differ from covetous 
consumption in the same way as savings, since the money is not spent 
on oneself for the immediate consumption of goods and services. 
Many times the NT stresses that the Christian should use his money 
to be rich toward God and lay up treasures in heaven by giving to 
meet human need (Luke 12:15, 33-34; Eph 4:28; 1 Tim 6:18-19). 
Again, inflation must be judged unbiblical in its consequences for it 
creates an economic environment in which it is wise to covetously 
consume and is foolish to save. 

Finally, inflation generates destabilizing forces in the national 
life. There is the force of dishonest dealings. Since government is 
dishonest and "rips off" the citizen by lessening through inflation the 
value of his hard-earned dollars, many citizens feel justified in 
"stealing" tax revenues from the government through tax evasion. 
The Internal Revenue Service estimates that the level of unreported 
income is in excess of $100 billion annually. 26 The Scriptures, how- 
ever, emphasize as a Christian duty the full payment of taxes (Matt 
22:21; Rom 13:7). There is the force of divisiveness as each special 
interest group, labor, management, and clients for government aid, 
battles for its share of the inflationary spiral in terms of higher wages, 
prices, and government grants. There is also the increased financial 
strains on the family as both mother and father must work to make 
ends meet. Inflation prevents individuals in the society from ex- 
periencing the kind of life which Paul asks us to pray for as we pray 
for our leaders: "a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and dignity" 
(1 Tim 2:2). Thus, such destabilizing forces as a consequence of 
inflation are unhealthy and unbiblical. 



'Popell, Business Week (May 5, 1980) 20. 



larkin: ethics of inflation 105 



SUMMARY 



Inflation is the creation of excess purchasing media or credit 
beyond that which represents the wealth, the production of goods and 
services, of a country. The banking community and the federal 
government are responsible for this excess. The biblical teaching on 
honest dealing speaks to this practice and exposes it as unbiblical and 
immoral. The consequences of inflation include the oppression of 
those on fixed incomes, especially the elderly. The OT teachings 
concerning proper treatment of the widow censures this result of 
inflation. A promotion of unbiblical values of sloth and covetousness 
and a discouragement of the biblical idea of diligence and savings 
also result from inflation. Finally, the destabilization of society which 
occurs in the wake of inflation creates a situation contrary to the 
"quiet and peaceful life" which Scripture envisages as the goal of 
good government. 



PALESTINIAN ARCHAEOLOGY 

AND THE DATE OF THE CONQUEST: 

DO TELLS TELL TALES? 

Eugene H. Merrill 



The date of Israel's conquest of Canaan is predicated basically 
on the assumption that it was a military enterprise which, therefore, 
must have resulted in extensive destruction throughout the land. This 
being so, it is reasonable to expect that archaeological research would 
attest to this destruction. The date of the strata associated with the 
destruction would then yield the date of the conquest. The fallacy of 
this hypothesis is that the OT record does not allow for a conquest 
involving massive devastation; in fact, it takes quite the opposite 
position. It follows that any archaeological attestation of destruction 
cannot be used to date the conquest. Such dating must be deduced 
from the biblical literary data themselves, a process which allows a 
date compatible with the early date of the Exodus. 



It may seem to be an exercise in futility and boring redundancy to 
explore once more the question of the date of Israel's conquest of 
Canaan under Joshua. The two prevailing views, that of an early 
fourteenth century 1 and that of a mid- to late-thirteenth century 
date, 2 appear to be so firmly entrenched among the scholarly seg- 
ments which hold them that there is no further need for discussion. 



'See conveniently John J. Davis and John C. Whitcomb, A History of Israel from 
Conquest to Exile (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980) 17-18; E. H. Merrill, An Historical 
Survey of the Old Testament (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1966, 
1979) 106-8, 155; Leon Wood, A Survey of Israel's History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1970) 94-101. 

2 John Bright, A History of Israel. 3rd ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1981) 130- 
33. Bright even appears to opt for a twelfth century date now (p. 133). Martin Noth 
(The History of Israel [New York: Harper & Row, 1960] 81) admits that the conquest 
could have begun as early as the Amarna period (ca. 1375 B.C.) but insists that it ended 
as late as 1100 B.C. For a 1230 B.C. date, see H. H. Rowley, From Joseph to Joshua 
(London: Oxford University, 1950, 1970) 133. Of course, virtually no critical scholars 



108 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Indeed, it may well be that the opposing schools of thought can never 
find rapprochement, particularly if archaeological evidence continues 
to be adduced and interpreted by both sides in support of their 
respective conclusions. The thesis of this paper is that while both 
parties in the debate have cited and utilized the same evidence to 
prove vastly different propositions, the biblical data themselves have 
strangely been largely overlooked. What does the OT have to say 
about any reasonable expectation that archaeology can shed light on 
the perplexing problem of dating the Conquest? Does it possibly 
suggest a via media, that archaeology, far from being friend or foe, 
has nothing at all to say to the question? 3 

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM 

A few years ago Bruce Waltke pointed in the right direction 
when he argued that one should not expect archaeological documen- 
tation for an early or any other date for the Conquest since it was 
clearly Joshua's policy not to destroy the population centers but only 
to "take" ("D 1 ?) them. 4 That is, the biblical account itself presupposes 
an interpretation quite to the contrary of that held by the vast 
majority of both conservative and liberal scholars. 5 Indeed, he says, if 



view the conquest as a homogeneous, united effort by twelve tribes under one leader 
and in one comparatively brief period of time. 

3 Jhis has been expressed recently by J. Maxwell Miller but only by maintaining 
that "there was never an Israelite invasion of the sort envisioned in Josh. 1-12" 
("Archaeology and the Israelite Conquest of Canaan: Some Methodological Observa- 
tions," PEQ 109 [1977] 92). He correctly observes that there is little or no archaeologi- 
cal evidence for the conquest, no matter the date, but concludes that since the OT 
narrative presupposes vast destruction that narrative itself cannot be correct. Our thesis 
is that both the narrative and the "negative archaeological evidence" (Miller, 92) are 
correct when correctly interpreted. 

4 Bruce K. Waltke, "Palestinian Artifactual Evidence Supporting the Early Date 
for the Exodus," BSac 129 (1972) 35. M. F. Unger had pointed out the same thing 
nearly thirty years ago but did not follow up on his observations. See his Archaeology 
and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954) 163-64. 

5 Thus, H. T. Frank (Bible, Archaeology, and Faith [Nashville: Abingdon, 1971] 
95) states flatly, ". . . the conquest was sparked by a warlike invasion of the central 
highlands leaving in its wake a series of smoldering ruins where once-proud Canaanite 
cities had stood." Among these he includes Hebron, Eglon, Jarmuth, and Lachish. An 
evangelical scholar, R. K. Harrison, likewise assumes such a position when he points 
out that "Archaeological excavations along the route of the occupation have afforded 
clear indications of violence and destruction during the second half of the thirteenth 

century b.c " a period he associates with the Joshua conquest (Old Testament 

Times [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970] 175-76). Similarly, K. A. Kitchen, who usually 
places the biblical testimony above any other, argues for a late exodus and conquest 
precisely on archaeological grounds. See his Ancient Orient and Old Testament 
(London: Tyndale, 1966) 61-69. 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 109 

the evidence were to indicate widespread and massive destruction of 
Canaanite sites in the early fourteenth century, the traditional con- 
quest period, it would fly in the face of the biblical statements and 
would pose no end of embarrassment to the traditional view. On the 
other hand, such destruction, amply attested everywhere in the thir- 
teenth century, can be attributed to the Joshua campaigns only by 
denying the clear biblical witness. 

Though Waltke's suggestions were correct he did not pursue 
them fully nor make a convincing case exegetically for their relevance 
to the issue. In fact, he went on to argue that archaeology has validity 
when interpreted correctly, a point which is undeniable, but he 
appears to have failed to appreciate the two-edged nature of the 
archaeological evidence from most of the sites adduced in support of 
either date. When equally eminent and competent scholars can look 
at artifactual data and come to diametrically opposite conclusions 
based on them, it might be time to abandon the pursuit and follow up 
on Waltke's own suggestion that the biblical testimony and it alone is 
adequate to provide satisfying answers. 6 

THE MOSAIC CONQUEST POLICY 

Central to the promise of yhwh to Israel concerning the land 
which he would give them in Canaan was the fact that it would 
become their property virtually intact. 7 They would need to fight for 



6 This paper will make no attempt to relate the date of the conquest to that of the 
exodus though we are persuaded that such a connection only confirms the position 
taken here that the conquest began ca. 1400 B.C. Neither biblical nor archaeological 
evidence militates against the early (mid-fifteenth century) date for the exodus. See 
now John J. Bimson, Redating the Exodus and Conquest, JSOT Supplement Series 5 
(Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1978) passim. Bimson in fact argues for a slightly earlier date 
than that of most conservative scholars. 

7 Only Canaanite sites will be considered here in detail since Canaan is specified as 
the land of inheritance to be given to Israel with ready-built structures. Of non- 
Canaanite cities, only the following in Transjordan are named in the records as having 
been either taken or destroyed: Heshbon (Num 21:25) and Aroer (Deut 2:36). Though 
Nelson Glueck's allegation that the Transjordan contained no sedentary population 
from ca. 1900-1300 was at one time almost universally accepted, recent research at Tell 
Hesban (Heshbon) indicates to some scholars that the site was occupied by people of 
some culture during the Late Bronze period. If this is correct it could, therefore, have 
been taken by the Israelites at 1400 B.C. See Bimson, Redating, 72. The OT narrative 
does not indicate that Israel destroyed Heshbon but, to the contrary, "took" (TD/) it 
and "dwelt ... in Heshbon" (Num 21:25). One should not expect archaeological 
confirmation or denial of this. Aroer (now c Ara c ir) was explored by E. Olavarri in 1964 
and he showed that the site, though abandoned throughout the MB period, was 
occupied continuously in the LB through the mid-ninth century ("Sondages a c Aro c er 
sur 1'Arnon," RB 72 [1965] 91). This of course supports the OT picture of the "taking" 



110 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

it, of course, but in only exceptional cases would it be necessary for 
them to destroy its cities and towns physically. 8 

The first statement of this policy is in the Book of the Covenant 
where, in Exod 23:24, yhwh commands Israel to put the Canaanite 
gods under the D"in and to destroy their ni32?9- There is no word 
here of the destruction of cities. In fact, the passage goes on with the 
promise of yhwh to drive the inhabitants of the land out gradually so 
that the land will not become uninhabitable (vv 23-30). 

En route to Canaan Moses reminded the people once again of 
the policy to be implemented in conquering and occupying the land 
(Num 33:50-56). They must drive out the inhabitants, destroy their 
cult objects, and take possession of the land. There is not a word 
about the destruction of the cities and /or buildings. 



of the city but not its destruction and means that Aroer, like Heshbon, can say nothing 
of the conquest date. 

Moses' rehearsal of events in Transjordan describes the disposition of Heshbon, 
Aroer, and the other cities by saying "we took (1D7) all [Sihon's] cities at that time and 
totally destroyed (DTI"!]) each 'city of men' (□'TITp TI7) together with the women and 
children. . . ." (Deut 2:34). Since women and children are mentioned together, T17 
Clip can only refer to the male population. Again, there is no evidence of material 
devastation (see also Deut 3:5-6). 

The only other relevant non-Canaanite towns are the Philistine cities Gaza, 
Ashkelon, and Ekron, all of which were only "taken" (13/), not destroyed, and not 
until after Joshua's death (Judg 1:18). 

As for the cities of the Negev, only Arad and Hormah are mentioned by name 
(Num 21:1-3) and only the latter is said to have been destroyed (cf. Judg 1:17). 
Y. Aharoni has identified Arad with Tel Malhata and Hormah with Tel Masos and has 
assigned both to the Hyksos (MB lib) period ("Nothing Early and Nothing Late: Re- 
Writing Israel's Conquest," BA 29 [1976] 71). He maintains that there is no evidence of 
LB habitation of the Negev and so views the biblical conquest narrative as a conflation 
of traditions which include a Middle Bronze Age attack on Arad and Hormah by one 
or more tribes of Israel but having nothing to do with the conquest originally (p. 73). 

"Another factor that should be mentioned is the expectation voiced by some 
scholars that Israelite seizure and occupation of Canaanite cities should be reflected by 
a cultural transition in each case. That is, Israel's imposition of its own material 
civilization upon existing Canaanite sites should be evident at 1400-1375 if the early 
date and the OT's own picture of the conquest are correct. However, most cultural 
historians recognize that there is virtually no difference between the material culture of 
the Hebrews and that of the Canaanites, so that one would be unable to tell where the 
one began and the other ended apart from decisive proof that a Hebrew destruction of 
a Canaanite site introduced a new occupation. But since our very argument is that the 
transition occurred at ca. 1400 and did not involve destruction, there can be no 
evidence archaeologically of a new, intrusive Hebrew culture. See, e.g., Frank, Bible, 
Archaeology, and Faith, 102. 

'This implies also that not all the inhabitants of the land, even the Canaanites, 
were to be placed under the D"in. There was a principle of selectivity even in this 
policy. For the theological significance of D"in see L. J. Wood, Theological Wordbook 
of the Old Testament, ed. by R. L. Harris, et al. (Chicago: Moody, 1980), s.v. *D"in, 
741-42. 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 1 1 1 

In the reaffirmation of the covenant in the plains of Moab, 
Moses picks up the theme of conquest and reiterates the method to be 
followed in its execution. He states that the ancient promises made to 
the fathers are about to be fulfilled and that these include the 
possession and occupation of cities which they had not built as well 
as the seizure of houses, cisterns, vineyards, and olive-trees, all intact 
(Deut 6:10-11). They will not be required to destroy the cities of the 
land physically and then to rebuild them, but yhwh will graciously 
allow them to destroy or drive out the population and retain for their 
own use the abandoned and undamaged properties. The exception, of 
course, will be the pagan altars, niS^Q, D'H^X, and images (Deut 7:5; 
12:2-4), all of which must be placed under D"in as Moses had 
previously instructed. 

Other examples of the promise are in Deut 19:1-2 where, in 
connection with the establishment of the three cities of refuge in 
Canaan, Moses relates that they will simply be appropriations of 
Canaanite cities already existing and undamaged following the cut- 
ting off of their inhabitants. 10 Also very instructive in this respect is 
the "Manual of War" of Deuteronomy 20. It is here, if anywhere, that 
regulation concerning the disposition of conquered cities and peoples 
ought to be found. 

The instruction is as follows. First of all, those cities which are 
"far off" (i.e., non-Canaanite) must be given an opportunity to 
become tributary to Israel. If they refuse to surrender, they will be 
besieged and, after capitulating, the male population must be totally 
destroyed. The women, children, cattle, and spoil, however, may be 



These cities are Kedesh of Naphtali, Shechem, and Hebron (Josh 20:7). Nothing 
is related of a destruction or capture of Kedesh or Shechem by Israel in the conquest, 
but Hebron, as we shall see, was certainly not destroyed (p. 1 16). Kedesh (modern Tell 
Abu Qudeis, 7 miles NNW of Hazor) was occupied in the LB period, with no evidence 
of destruction until well into the Iron Age (1200-1150). See B. Mazar, "The Sanctuary 
of Arad and the Family of Hobab the Kenite,"/ATS 24 (1965) 301, n. 21. Archaeology 
thus does not contradict the statement of Deut 19:1-2 that Israel, having defeated the 
Canaanites, will "succeed them and dwell in their cities," three of which are the cities of 
refuge. As to Shechem, it is well known that it fell to the Habiru as attested in EA 289 
(see W. F. Albright, "Akkadian Letters," in A NET, 489): "Or shall we do like Lab D ayu, 
who gave the land of Shechem to the c Apiru?" While one no doubt should not make 
the facile equation Hapiru = Hebrew, here at least it is tempting to see something of 
Joshua's activity. In any event, as E. F. Campbell and J. F. Ross suggest, "The Late 
Bronze inhabitants of the site were content merely to re-use and rebuild the structures 
of their predecessors" ("The Excavation of Shechem and the Biblical Tradition," 
Biblical Archaeologist Reader, 2, ed. by D. N. Freedman and E. F. Campbell [Garden 
City: Doubleday, 1964] 283). These same scholars are struck by the absence of 
destruction at any reasonable period of the conquest and suggest that its capture "was 
achieved without resort to force of arms" (p. 284), precisely the point of the OT 
narrator. 



112 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

retained as booty. But there is no word about the destruction of the 
material city itself. Presumably it is captured and preserved intact. On 
the other hand, the Canaanite cities are to be given no opportunity to 
become subject or client states, but their populations must be placed 
under D*in. Again, nothing is said of reducing even Canaanite cities 
to rubble as normal policy. In fact, the opposite is indicated. A city 
under siege, whether Canaanite or not, must not suffer even the loss 
of its fruit trees, for the tree is innocent — it is not a man that it should 
be destroyed (v 19)! 

JOSHUA'S STRATEGY OF CONQUEST 

The story of the conquest, which makes up the bulk of the book 
of Joshua, reveals the implementation of this policy first enunciated 
by Moses. The exceptions, such as Jericho, are always singled out, 
and their destruction is usually narrated in some detail. These will 
be considered as a group at a later point. 

The southern campaign 

Following the successful division of the land of Canaan in the so- 
called Central Campaign, Joshua and Israel were confronted by an 
Amorite coalition of city-states consisting of Jerusalem, Hebron, 
Yarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. The encounter occurred at Gibeon, six 
miles northwest of Jerusalem, a city which the Amorites had deter- 
mined to punish because of its treacherous alliance with Israel 
(Josh 10:4). As a result of this covenant, Israel was obligated to come 
to Gibeon's assistance, and so the battle was joined. The result was a 
smashing victory for Israel, a triumph made possible because "yhwh 
fought for Israel" in holy war (10: 14). 12 

The followup, however, is the significant aspect of the story, for 
it reveals the attitude that Joshua took toward hostile cities. After 



The instructions about Jericho's destruction are very explicit and interesting. 
Joshua says that it "shall be devoted (Din), it and everything in it" with the exception 
of Rahab (Josh 6:17). The result was that "they burned the city with fire and everything 
in it" (v 24). In both statements the destruction of the city is distinguished from the 
destruction of everything in it because, as we shall see, "city" by itself usually means the 
population. This is seen also in the case of Ai ("I have given to you the king of Ai, his 
people, his city, and his land" [Josh 8:1; see also 8:8, 19]). 

12 Cities such as Gibeon which, according to the biblical narrative, were spared 
destruction by Israel may still have been destroyed by others at the same time or at 
other times. What might then appear to be attributable to Israel should be assigned to 
some other cause. As for Gibeon itself, no evidence exists of its destruction throughout 
the LB— Iron II periods (1500-600 B.C.). This is in keeping with the OT narrative which 
specifies that Joshua spared the city. See J. B. Pritchard, Gibeon: Where the Sun 
Stood Still (Princeton: Princeton University, 1962, 156-61). 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 113 

briefly returning to camp at Gilgal, Joshua set out for Makkedah, 
located perhaps between Lachish and Eglon, where he first confined 
the Amorite kings in a cave (10:18). Next he ran down the enemy 
soldiers and slaughtered them (10:20). Then he returned to Makkedah 
and executed the imprisoned kings (10:28). 13 The following steps were 
undertaken in its capture: (1) Joshua "took" it. The verb used here, 
I'D 1 ?, is a technical term which describes in a general way the capture 
of a person or place but which in no way implies destruction. In fact, 
when destruction is also involved ID/ is accompanied by a clarifying 
statement to that effect. For example. Josh 8:21 says, "When Joshua 
and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken (ID 1 ?) the city [of Ai] 
and that smoke was going up from the city . . ." (see also vv 8, 19). 
Likewise, Josh 10:1: "Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that 
Joshua had taken (ID 1 ?) Ai and totally destroyed it (D r "inn). . . ." 
Most instructive is the account of the fall of Hazor (11:10-13): "At 
that time Joshua turned back and captured (ID 1 ?) Hazor and put its 
king to the sword. . . . Everyone in it they put to the sword. They 
totally destroyed them (D^nn), not sparing anything that breathed, 
and he burned up Hazor itself. Joshua took (ID/) all these royal 
cities and their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed 
them (D r "inn), as Moses the servant of the lord commanded. Yet 
Israel did not burn any of the cities built on their mounds — except 
Hazor, which Joshua burned." 

It is clear from these examples that ID/ by itself does not 
connote destruction but only capture. Destruction in addition to 
capture must always be indicated by elaborative statements, frequently 
containing the verb Din. 14 

(2) Joshua "put to the sword" the city and its king (10:28). That 
IDb does not mean more than capture is seen again in the case of 
Makkedah, for after the city was taken, it and its king were put to the 
sword. With reference to Makkedah, the text says literally, "he struck 
it and its king with the edge of the sword." Here there is no question 
that "it" (or "the city," NIV) refers to the population since one would 
not put walls and buildings to the sword. 15 Furthermore, the meaning 

l3 Makkedah, perhaps modern Khirbet el-Kheisun, some 18 miles due west of 
Bethlehem, has yet to be identified with certainty. It, therefore, is of no help in the 
conquest problem. See Y. Aharoni and M. Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas 
(New York: Macmillan, 1968) maps 58, 63, 130; H. G. May, Oxford Bible Atlas 
(London: Oxford University, 1974) 134. 

l4 The equivalent Akkadian expression, sabatu ala. "to take (or conquer) a city" 
also never denotes destruction when used alone. See CAD, S, 5-41, esp. pp. 15-17. The 
usual expression for "destroy" is abatu x. CAD. A/1, 41-45. 

15 A common meaning of Ti7, the most frequently occurring Hebrew word for 
"city," is, in fact, "population." See Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, ed.. 
Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (Leiden: Brill, 1958) s.v. TJ7, 701. That the 



114 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

is amplified by the next clause, "he put them under the ban, every 
person in it; he left no survivor." 16 The only destruction, according to 
the narrative, was that of the king and people of Makkedah. 

The next object of Joshua's punitive raid is Libnah, just five 
miles north of Lachish. This time the verb ID 1 ? is not used but is 
replaced by |n3, the converse of I'D 1 ?, yhwh "gave" the city and its 
king to Joshua and just as he had done to Makkedah he did to 
Libnah: he put it and its king to the sword, leaving no survivors. 
Similarly, Joshua moved on to Lachish 18 which he "took" (Tib) on 
the second day after yhwh had "given" (]n3) it to him (10:32). He 
followed up its capture by putting the city and its people to the 
sword. He then "took" (I'D 1 ?) Eglon, 19 put it to the sword, and "totally 
destroyed" (Dnnn) everyone in it (10:35). Next he "took" (*dV) 
Hebron 20 and put it to the sword with its king and people. However, 



reference to city means "population" is also conclusive in light of the earlier instruction 
by Joshua about Makkedah and the other cities: "Do not allow them to enter their 
cities, for the lord your God has given them to you" (10:19). The second "them" 
grammatically and syntactically best refers to the cities and not the people. 

,6 The phrase is difficult. MT reads TtfTJ X'*? H3 "lltfX tf prVSTIXI DHX D"H£jn 
T*ltP. Many MSS and some LXX and Targumic readings prefer rinX ("it") for MT 
DHX ("them"), thus requiring the translation, "he put it under the ban and every person 
in it; he left no survivor." While this may be attractive in some ways, the lectio 
difficilior would retain MT and, as we will show below, the plural pronoun is 
preferable on other grounds. The waw on DX") could well be a waw explicativitum 
(GK.C § 154a note), yielding the meaning, "he put them (the population and king) 
under the ban; that is, every person in it— he left no survivor." 

l7 Libnah now is identified as Tell Bornat, 5 miles NE of Lachish. It appears to 
have been occupied at the end of LB and beginning of Iron I, but the site has not yet 
been excavated so nothing can be said about its relationship to the conquest. See 
R. deVaux, The Early History of Israel (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978) 544. 

Lachish, modern Tell ed-Duweir, is about 25 miles SW of Bethlehem. Two Tell 
el-Amarna letters (nos. 328, 329) were written from Lachish and in a third (no. 333) its 
king, Zimreda, is accused of collaborating with the Habiru. The site was obviously 
occupied in the LB early fourteenth century in line with the early conquest date. The 
only evidence of destruction in LB-Iron Age times is that of 1220 or so B.C., as 
indicated by an Egyptian inscription found there and dated to the fourth year of either 
Merneptah or Rameses III. Of course, this destruction is usually attributed to Joshua 
(Y. Aharoni, IEJ 16 [1966] 280-81; 18 [1968] 157-69; 254-55; D. Ussishkin, BASOR 223 
[1976] 1-13). 

Eglon, modern Tell el-Hesi, is about eight miles west of Lachish. It was 
destroyed at the end of LB and not rebuilt until Solomonic times. See Bimson, 
Redating, 212. 

20 Hebron, of course, retains its biblical name today, though the OT city (now el- 
Khalil) was somewhat south of the modern site. There is no indication of its 
destruction throughout the LB period nor, indeed, thereafter until the end of Iron I. 
However, since the site is currently being excavated nothing definite can be said of the 
LB one way or the other as yet. See de Vaux, Early History, 538. 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 115 

there is the addendum that at Hebron Israel "totally destroyed" 
(D , "inn) both the city and its people (10:37). Finally, the destruction 
of Debir is recorded in practically identical terms: Joshua "took" 
(137) it, put it and its surrounding villages to the sword, and "totally 
destroyed" (D , ")nn) the populations (10:39). 

There is, admittedly, some ambiguity in the accounts just recited, 
particularly as far as the "putting to the sword" of the cities is 
concerned. While it might appear that this favors material destruc- 
tion, the idiom is clearly inappropriate in that the sword is an 
instrument used to destroy life and not property. Furthermore, the 
summary of the Southern Campaign, which doubtless reflects the 
consistent and comprehensive strategy of Israel under Joshua, leaves 
no question as to what happened in each case: 

"So Joshua subdued (!"D3) the whole region. ... He left no 
survivors. He totally destroyed (D'Hnn) all who breathed . . ."(10:40). 
There is not a word here of devastation of walls or buildings — it is 
only the people who are exterminated. 

The northern campaign 

It is helpful now to return to the narrative of the Northern 
Campaign which features the destruction of Hazor ~ and the capture 
of the neighboring Canaanite towns. We have already pointed out 
that Joshua "took" (I'D 1 ?) Hazor and put its king and people to the 
sword, "completely destroying" (□"HI"!!"!, Hiphil infinitive absolute) 
them (11:10-11). There is no reference to putting the city to the 
sword. Instead, the narrator relates that Joshua burned Hazor to the 
ground. It might be argued, then, that putting a city to the sword is 
synonymous with destroying it. That this does not necessarily follow 
is clear from the description of the fate of Hazor's allied cities. 
Josh 11:12-13 says that "Joshua 'took' ("D 1 ?) all these royal cities and 
their kings and put them to the sword. He totally destroyed them, as 
Moses the servant of the lord has commanded. Yet Israel did not 



Debir, identified by Albright as Tell Beit Mirsim, is fifteen miles SW of Hebron 
and eight SE of Lachish. As Albright showed in his extensive excavations, Debir was 
fortified in the Hyksos (MB) period, abandoned until the LB period, and totally 
destroyed at the end of the LB (ca. 1225). Again, the destruction is attributed to the 
conquest when, in fact, the OT does not indicate conquest destruction, a fact borne out 
by a mid-LB conquest. See Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (Harmondsworth: 
Penguin, 1960) 108-9. Miller ("Archaeology," 87) rejects Albright's identification of 
Debir and suggests instead Khirbet Rabud, with M. Kochavi (Tel Aviv 1 [1974] 2-33). 
He says that Khirbet Rabud was occupied throughout LB-Iron I but evinces no major 
destruction at that time. This later identification, no doubt the correct one, confirms 
the thesis that Debir was "taken" but not destroyed. 

22 The archaeological evidence for Hazor is presented below, p. 120. 



116 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

burn any of the cities built on their mounds — except Hazor, which 
Joshua burned." In other words, Joshua put all these cities to the 
sword and yet did not burn them. This beyond question proves that 
to put to the sword refers not to the physical cities but to their 
populations. Unless there is evidence to the contrary (and there is 
not), the same idiom means the same thing wherever it is found. 
The summation of the total conquest is also illuminating. The 
historian recounts that "Joshua 'took' (I'D 1 ?) this entire land: the hill 
country, all the Negev, the whole region of Goshen, the western 
foothills, the Arabah and the mountains of Israel with their foot- 
hills. ... He 'captured' ("OV) all their kings and struck them down, 
putting them to death" (Josh 1 1:16-17). Not a word is said of material 



ALLOCATION OF THE CITIES 

Joshua's account of the distribution of the cities to the tribes and 
to individuals is also instructive, especially those which are specifically 
mentioned as having been taken, put to the sword, or completely 
destroyed in the conquest. The first example is Hebron. Because of 
Caleb's faithful report to Moses when he returned from spying out 
the land, Moses had promised him a personal inheritance (Num 
14:24). In fulfillment of this pledge Joshua assigned to Caleb the city 
of Hebron (Josh 14:13). Though one cannot prove, perhaps, that 
Hebron was not a pile of rubble, it would appear that it must have 
been physically intact in order to have been a meaningful gift to 
Caleb. Moreover, in order to actually possess the city Caleb had to 
evict from it the three sons of Anak (15:14; Judg 1:10), an un- 
necessary task if the city was not standing. 25 It is apparent that the 
earlier population of Hebron had been destroyed and that the Anakim 



A possible exception might be seen in the latter part of the summary (11:21-23) 
where it is said that Joshua totally destroyed the Anakim "with their cities" (Drp"iy DJ? ), 
having first cut them off from Hebron, Debir, Anab, and other places. There is no 
indication from the passage, however, that the cities named are identical to the cities of 
the Anakim which were destroyed. Proof of this is the fact that the Anakim reoccupied 
Hebron and Debir, at least, and after Joshua's death had to be driven out of these 
cities once again by Caleb (Judg 1:20; cf. Josh 15:13-15; Judg 1:10). Marten Woudstra, 
(The Book of Joshua [NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981) 193, n. 28) agrees that 
the burning of Hazor was an exception not only in the north but throughout the 
conquest. 

24 For archaeological evidence to the contrary, see above, n. 19. 

" The relationship of the Joshua and Judges narratives concerning the granting of 
Hebron to Caleb is admittedly somewhat complex. Josh 14:13-15 states only that 
Hebron was assigned to Caleb. There is no suggestion that he took it immediately. 
Josh 15:13-19 recounts the actual seizure of the city by Caleb and his dispossession of 
the Anakim. Since the Anakim had already been driven out by Joshua in the original 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 117 

had simply moved back in to take its place. Evidently the same thing 
was true of Debir, for though the city had been taken by Joshua 
earlier, it was necessary for Caleb to retake it, thus presupposing its 
continued material existence and repopulation (Josh 15:15-17). 

On the other hand, it is true that all the cities which we know to 
have been physically destroyed — Jericho, Ai, and Hazor 26 — were, 
with the exception of Ai, assigned to the tribes as part of their 
allotments (Josh 18:21; 19:36). But there is no indication that they 
were inhabited immediately after their destruction nor, indeed, for 
some time later. In short, Jericho, Ai, and Hazor, the three cities 
which were reduced to rubble, are not said to have been repopulated 
soon thereafter. 27 Of the others where there is narrative evidence — 
Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, and Debir — the latter 
two were almost immediately repopulated, either by the indigenous 
populations or Israelites. 28 And since the account of their capture is 
exactly the same as that of the others ("They did to Debir and its king 
as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron," Josh 10:39; 
cf. 10:32, 35, 37), it may be assumed that these others too were left 
standing and habitable. 



conquest (10:36-37; 11:21), Caleb's action must represent a second dispossession. 
Judg 1:9-10, 20, is a summary of the Caleb conquest, an event which clearly followed 
the death of Joshua (Judg 1:1). See C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary 
on the Old Testament: Joshua, Judges, Ruth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.) 156-57. 
For the standard critical view that the account in Judges 1 is a rival and contradictory 
description of the conquest from that given in Joshua, see G. F. Moore, A Critical and 
Exegetical Commentary on Judges (ICC; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923) 
8-10. 

"Jerusalem also was burned but only after Joshua's death (Judg 1:8) and 
apparently only partially or with little damage since the Jebusites reoccupied it and 
were not dislodged until the time of David (Judg 1:21; cf. 2 Sam 5:6-10). Since 
Jerusalem has not been thoroughly excavated it is impossible to know much if 
anything of the destruction level implied by the Judges 1 narrative. 

27 See below, pp. 119-20, for the archaeological evidence. 

28 It is difficult to say how long it was after the initial conquest of Hebron and 
Debir before the cities were repopulated by Caleb and his family. The first conquest 
lasted seven years, between 1406-1399, as is clear from the fact that Caleb was 40 years 
old some 38 years before the conquest began and was 85 when it ended and he made 
his request for an inheritance (Josh 14:7, 10, 13). Joshua did not die before ca. 1375 
B.C. so Caleb's possession of Hebron must have been no earlier than 25 years after the 
Joshua conquest. This would require Caleb to be 110 years of age at the time but since 
Joshua lived to be 110 (Josh 24:29) and Moses 120 (Deut 34:7) there is nothing 
inherently improbable in Caleb's living to 115 or more. See E. H. Merrill, "Paul's Use 
of 'About 450 Years' in Acts 13:20," BSac 138 (1981) 250, 256 n. 18. This period of 25 
years between conquests is sufficient to explain the repopulation of these (and other) 
cities by the native elements. But since there is no archaeological evidence of their 
rebuilding they must not have been destroyed previously. 



118 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

REVIEW OF JOSHUA'S STRATEGY 

The policy of Moses, as we have seen, was to leave the city 
structures intact to the extent that the walls, buildings, cisterns, and 
even orchards and vineyards should be preserved (Deut 6:10-11; 
19:1). It remains now to see how successfully this policy was carried 
out by Joshua in the actual conquest of Canaan. We have already 
argued that where narrative detail is supplied the only cities which 
suffered structural devastation were Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. All the 
others were left standing, though their populations were frequently 
decimated. The most persuasive proof that Moses' strategy was 
followed, however, is that of Joshua's own testimony in the covenant 
context of Joshua 24. As most scholars now recognize, this chapter is 
largely a statement of covenant renewal with most of the essential 
elements of a standard covenant document. This includes the so- 
called "historical prologue," found in this instance in 24:2-13. 29 

After rehearsing the remotely past dealings of yhwh from the 
election of the fathers "beyond the river" through the Egyptian 
sojourn and exodus-Sinai redemptive event, Joshua recites the im- 
mediately past history of which he was a part and an eye-witness. He 
points out that all enemies on both sides of the Jordan had been 
defeated by yhwh the warrior. Then, climactically, the lord says, "I 
gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not 
build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves 
that you did not plant" (Josh 24:13). 

It might be objected, of course, that Joshua made this proclama- 
tion long after the conquest proper, in plenty of time for the Israelites 
to have built their own cities on the ruins of Canaanite sites. But this 
cannot be the case since Joshua emphasizes that the Israelites are 
living in cities which they did not build. One can only assume either 
that Joshua was mistaken or that indeed he had faithfully pursued the 
policy dictated by Moses that the conquest and occupation of Canaan 
should not require the leveling of the cities themselves. 

EXCEPTIONS TO THE POLICY 

The implication of all this should be most apparent. Scholars, 
whether conservative or liberal, who seek to establish the date of the 
conquest on the basis of evidence of destruction of Canaanite sites are 
missing the point entirely, for if the biblical account is correct, there 
is no such evidence. The exceptions, of course, are Jericho, Ai, and 
Hazor. To each of these we must now briefly address ourselves to see 
what if any information can be gained relevant to our problem. 

29 For a good analysis, see K. A. Kitchen, The Bible in Its World (Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity, 1977) 79-85. 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 119 

Ai 

It is possible to dismiss Ai from consideration almost out of 
hand because so complex are the questions relative even to its 
location that it can scarcely be used to resolve our thesis one way or 
the other. 30 Though traditionally identified with Khirbet et-Tell, there 
is increasing skepticism that the identification is correct. Even if it is, 
it is not helpful to either the traditional or a late conquest date since 
it apparently was desolate from the end of the Early Bronze Age to 
the Early Iron Age. That is, from about 2000 B.C. to about 1100 it 
was unoccupied, and so it cannot be identified with Ai whether the 
conquest be 1400 B.C. or 1250 or so. Until Ai can be firmly identified 
with a modern site, it can be of no use in dating the conquest. 

Jericho 

Unfortunately, the situation with Jericho is not much better, for 
though there is no question about the location of the OT city, it has 
suffered such ravages at the hands of both the elements and the 
excavators that its testimony is at best ambivalent. The first syste- 
matic investigations of the mound (Tell es-Sultan) by John Garstang 
led him to the view that City D was destroyed by a violent conflagra- 
tion shortly after 1400 B.C. This he associated with the Israelite 
conquest under Joshua, thus supporting the traditional date. 31 
Kathleen Kenyon, whose work was even more extensive, rejected 
Garstang's conclusion about City D and finally settled on a date of 
1300 B.C. or a little later. 32 It is readily apparent that her position 
supports neither side of the question, for it is 100 years too late for 
the one and 50 years too early for the other. 

How, then, should one view Kenyon's point that there is no sign 
at Jericho of an early fourteenth century destruction? Bimson in his 
recent monograph on the problem suggests that the reason no 
evidence of a Late Bronze destruction exists is that Joshua destroyed 
not a Late Bronze but a Middle Bronze city. Though it has been 



30 In reference to what he calls "the problem city of Ai," Bimson (Redating, 215-25) 
reviews the entire controversy surrounding the identification of Ai. Though essentially 
favoring D. Livingston's position ("The Location of Biblical Bethel and Ai Recon- 
sidered," WThJ 33 [1970] 20-24; "Traditional Site of Bethel Questioned," WThJ 34 
[1971] 39-50) that Bethel should not be identified with Beitin but Bireh and thus that 
et-Tell is not Ai (so that Ai is as yet still unknown), Bimson nonetheless argues that 
both et-Tell and Beitin are ambiguous since both were unoccupied at the period of 
either usual date for the conquest. 

3l John Garstang, 772? Story of Jericho (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1948) 
126-30. 

"Kathleen Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land (New York: Praeger, 1964) 
211; "Palestine in the Time of the Eighteenth Dynasty," CAH 1 2/1, 545. 



120 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOUKinal 

customary to date the end of the MB settlement at ca. 1550 B.C., 
Bimson, in an exhaustive treatment of all the data, prefers a date 
within a decade or so of 1430 b.c. 33 This means that he is within 
about 25 years of the traditional date, and whether one calls the city 
MB or LB is almost irrelevant, since such terms are not used in the 
OT anyway. Clearly, it is impossible to establish dates of archaeologi- 
cal strata with such precision as to argue for 1430 against 1406, 
especially in the absence of in situ datable inscriptions. In conclusion, 
there is nothing from Jericho to militate against a 1400 B.C. conquest 
date and much to commend it. 

Hazor 

Finally, the more scientifically and objectively researched mound 
of Tell Hazor must be considered. The chief excavator of the most 
recent dig, Yigael Yadin, has presented evidence of a major destruc- 
tion of the city by fire, a destruction he dates from 1250-1200 and 
assigns to Joshua and the Israelites. 34 This, he says, offers proof of 
the late conquest date. However, he also refers to the overthrow of 
the MB IIC city at about 1400 B.C., a date he later changed to 1550 
because of his revised dating of the later LB I level. This revision was 
itself dependent on the discovery of bichrome ware in Stratum 2 
(LB I), a fact which Yadin felt required the adjustment of the dating 
of the stratum upward and, with it, a correspondingly earlier date for 
MB IIC. 35 Bimson has shown that the whole realignment is un- 
necessary since the basis of dating bichrome ware is itself erroneous. 36 
A 1400 b.c. date for the conflagration of MB IIC Hazor can, then, be 
maintained and with it the early date of the conquest on the assump- 
tion that the devastation was at Israelite hands. 

CONCLUSION 

There are, then, only three cities in Canaan itself which are 
explicitly singled out as having been physically destroyed by Joshua 



Bimson, Redating, 144. For a fair review of Bimson's approach by a critical 
scholar, see J. Maxwell Miller, JBL 99 (1980) 133, 135. Miller points out that Bimson 
has shown that "those who hold to a thirteenth century exodus-conquest have no 
monopoly on the archaeological evidence." 

34 See conveniently Y. Yadin, "The Rise and Fall of Hazor," Archaeological 
Discoveries in the Holy Land (New York: Bonanza, 1967) 62-63; "Excavations at 
Hazor, 1955-1958," The Biblical Archaeologist Reader, vol. 2, ed. by David Noel 
Freedman and Edward F. Campbell, Jr. (Garden City: Doubleday, 1964) 224. 

35 Y. Yadin, "The Fifth Season of Excavations at Hazor, 1968-1969," BA 32 
(1969) 55. 

36 Bimson, Redating, 147-83. 



MERRILL: DATE OF THE CONQUEST 121 

and the Israelites in their conquest of the land — Jericho, Ai, and 
Hazor — and even these cannot now be confidently identified or dated 
unambiguously. This means that the prodigious labors and ingenious 
solutions which have been expended on the host of remaining cities 
listed in connection with the conquest are irrelevant. If, as we have 
attempted to show, the policy of Israel as initiated by Moses and 
carried out by Joshua was indeed implemented, one should not 
expect to find evidence of destruction of Canaanite cities at Israelite 
hands in the period 1406-1385. To the contrary, if such evidence were 
forthcoming it would, as we have suggested earlier, prove extremely 
embarrassing to the biblical narrative itself. Critical scholars may or 
may not be influenced by the exegetical arguments adduced in this 
paper since their redaction-criticism and other approaches can in any 
event explain away the biblical witness. The conservative, however, 
must reexamine the procedure that would try to defend the early date 
of the conquest by positing a 1400 B.C. devastation of Canaanite sites 
on archaeological grounds. When he does this he disregards the intent 
of the biblical narratives and thus subjects the historicity of this part 
of the OT at least to painful wounds in the house of its own friends. 
Do tells tell tales? Most assuredly they do, when interpreted 
correctly. But the OT also speaks, and in regard to the question of the 
date of the conquest it eloquently states that there is no conflict 
between text and tell when both are viewed dispassionately and 
objectively. 



REVIEW ARTICLE 

Earth's Pre- Flood Vapor Canopy 
John C. Whitcomb and Donald B. DeYoung 



Tlte Waters Above: Earth's Pre-Flood Vapor Canopy, by Joseph C. Dillow. 
Chicago: Moody, 1981. Pp. 479. $12.95. 



Christian scholarship owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Joseph C. 
Dillow and to Moody Press for this magnificent analysis of the biblical and 
scientific evidence for the vast vapor canopy of water that existed above the 
atmosphere from Creation to the Flood. Nothing remotely comparable to 
this work is known to the reviewers. It is definitely a landmark, a significant 
step forward, and an encouraging sign of the health and vigor of the modern 
creationist/ catastrophist movement within evangelical Christianity. The 32- 
page bibliography, including numerous personal communications with lead- 
ing authorities, provides a clue to the enormous amount of research that has 
been invested in this study. 

With both science and theology in his academic background (B.S., 
University of Oregon; Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary), Dillow has 
served as a visiting professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical 
Divinity School, and now works in Vienna, Austria, with a missionary 
society, Inherit a Blessing, Inc. 

Joseph Dillow's basic thesis is that God enveloped the pre-Flood earth 
"in a thermal vapor blanket capable of precipitating many feet of water which 
condensed in the recent geological past in 40 days due to volcanic eruption, 
resulting in a geographically universal flood" (p. 136). Six key points in his 
model are: (1) The celestial ocean of Gen 1:6-7 turned to vapor by the fourth 
creative day due to lower pressure and higher temperature; (2) About 40 feet 
of water, causing 1.14 additional atmospheres of pressure, fell at the average 
rate of one-half inch per hour for 40 days at the beginning of the Flood year; 
(3) The days of creation were literal and there were no gaps in the genealogies 
of Genesis 10-1 1, thus dating the Flood to about 2500 B.C.; (4) The condensa- 
tion of the vapor canopy during the Flood caused atmospheric pressure to 
drop suddenly to its present level; (5) This condensation was apparently 
caused by volcanic ash hurled into the atmosphere; (6) The massive amounts 
of rain produced a geographically universal deluge (pp. 137-38). 

In the light of this model, Dillow next proceeds to offer ten predictions 
concerning the geophysics of the ancient earth: (1) a greenhouse effect; (2) a 
more rapid formation of 3 He (an isotope of helium) from tritium (a heavy 



124 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

isotope of hydrogen); (3) a greater atmospheric pressure; (4) shielding from 
cosmic radiation; (5) a global flood; (6) volcanic ash mixed with glacial ice at 
the time of the flood; (7) a sudden and permanent temperature drop in the 
polar regions; (8) fewer meteorites in pre-Flood strata; (9) residual amounts 
of water in the stratosphere today; (10) a changed appearance of the heavenly 
bodies after the Flood (pp. 138-39, with elaboration through p. 191). 

This is followed by refutations of alternative canopy models (liquid, ice, 
and cloud) in Chapter 6; a somewhat technical discussion of pre-Flood 
atmospheric conditions under a decaying canopy in Chapter 7; suggested 
answers to major problems with the vapor canopy theory (the precipitation of 
the canopy, the head load, oxygen toxicity and nitrogen narcosis, climate 
under the canopy, the dynamics of the canopy, and infrared cooling) in 
Chapter 8; and then a fascinating chapter on the number of stars visible to 
mankind before the Flood (about 255 maximum at one time) and after the 
collapse of the vapor canopy (an additional 2245), with implications for the 
great outburst of sun, moon, and star worship during the early post-Flood 
period. 

For the average reader, Dillow's most fascinating chapters will doubtless 
be 10: "The Riddle of the Frozen Giants," 11: "The Laughter of the Gods," 
and 12: "The Catastrophic Freeze." In a highly readable fashion and in 
amazing detail, our author carries us step by step through the controversies 
that have surrounded the discovery of frozen mammoths and other animals 
in the great tundras of Siberia, Alaska, and the islands of the Arctic Ocean. 
Similar in size to, or somewhat larger than, the Indian elephant, mammoths 
lacked the oil-producing glands in their skin that would have enabled them to 
live in cold climates (pp. 339-40). The presence of a Vh inch layer of fat 
indicates a large food supply (no longer available in those regions) and not 
protection from cold (p. 337). Even the possession of a wooly coat was no 
more the mark of an arctic animal than is the thick fur of a tropical tiger 
(p. 338), especially when it is seen that their skin lacked the erector muscles 
characteristic of all Arctic mammals known today (p. 342). 

Dillow provides overwhelming evidence that the climate in those north- 
ern regions was once warm. "Baron Toll, the Arctic explorer, found remains 
of a saber-toothed tiger and a 90-foot plum tree with green leaves and ripe 
fruit on its branches over 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the New 
Siberian Islands. Today the only vegetation that grows there is a one-inch- 
high willow" (p. 346). "Dr. Jack A. Wolfe in a recent U.S. Geological Survey 
Report told that Alaska once teemed with tropical plants. He found evidence 
of mangroves, palm trees, Burmese laquer trees, and groups of trees that now 
produce nutmeg and Macassar oil" (p. 348). 

After a careful analysis of the stomach contents of the Beresovka 
mammoth, discovered by Russian scientists in 1901, our author concludes: 
"The mammoth must have been overwhelmed suddenly with a rapid deep 
freeze and instant death. The sudden death is proved by the unchewed bean 
pods still containing the beans that were found between its teeth, and the deep 
freeze is suggested by the well-preserved state of the stomach contents and the 
presence of edible meat" (d. 377). "The animal was peacefully grazing in late 



WHITCOMB AND DEYOUNG: PRE-FLOOD VAPOR CANOPY 125 

July, and suddenly within a half hour of ingestion of his last lunch he was 
overcome by temperatures colder than -150° F, and froze to death in the 
middle of the summer. Furthermore, he never completely unthawed until he 
fell out of a riverbank in 1901" (p. 396). 

How many mammoths are still buried in the frozen muck of Siberia? 
First of all, the burial grounds are analyzed. In some areas of that 4,000-mile- 
wide continent, Russian scientists "have drilled down 4,000 feet and still did 
not reach solid rock" (p. 351). The permafrost (permanently frozen muck) 
reached to a depth of over 1,000 feet (p. 352), and "when this frozen soil 
melts, it results in an appalling, and often stinking, sort of soup composed of 
goo with silt, sand, pebbles, and boulders, often with masses of preserved, 
semidecayed or fully decayed vegetable and animal matter" (p. 351). "The very 
odor of the tundra in the New Siberian Islands has suggested to many that 
the soil must be full of rotten meat, yet 99% of these remains have never been 
'seen' by human eyes" (p. 330). During the brief summer thaw, vast swarms of 
insects are attracted to these regions (p. 401). 

Second, the extreme difficulty of excavating complete mammoths is 
explained. Very few people live in those areas (p. 331), and because of bad 
experiences with Russian authorities, they hesitate to report significant finds 
(p. 333), or the delay in receiving the reports is such that the exposed carcass 
is torn to bits by wolves and foxes before scientists can reach it during the 
two brief months of summer thaw (pp. 332, 349). "The expedition organized 
to excavate the Beresovka mammoth in 1901 traveled a thousand miles on 
sleds and horses," but travel was almost impossible because of the melting 
mud (p. 333). 

In spite of such obstacles, 39 frozen specimens had been examined by 
1960 (p. 329), and nearly 50,000 mammoth tusks had been collected and sold 
to the ivory trade (p. 355; cf. pp. 33 If., 404). "The total mammoth population 
is obviously thousands of times larger than the number of tusks men have 
counted in the past 200 years. The tusks indicate herds of millions of 
mammoths'" (p. 329, n. 82; italics added). Dillow pointedly comments: "If we 
were to jump into an acre of hay and regularly find needles, we would 
normally conclude that there must be millions of needles in the haystack in 
order for any one of them to have a probability of being found" (p. 318; 
cf. p. 331). 

Various uniformitarian theories of the freezing of the mammoths are 
refuted (pp. 355-64) and impressive evidence is provided concerning the 
conditions necessary to freeze the stomach contents of an animal with a four- 
inch-thick stomach wall (pp. 383-400). The conclusion is reached that "there 
is no problem in preserving at least some of the mammoth remains in a 
relatively fresh state throughout the year of the Flood, securely preserved, 
fresh frozen under tons of tundra muck, which subsequently froze into 
today's permafrost" (p. 418). 

Dillow helpfully suggests that dinosaurs (reptiles) and mammoths 
(mammals) were not buried together because they lived in different parts of 
the world. Nevertheless, "like the mammoths, they were overwhelmed with a 
sudden and global flood. The representatives of the dinosaurs that Noah 



126 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

presumably took with him on the ark were simply not able to survive in the 
changed post-Flood climate with its cooler temperatures and severe winters" 
(p. 420). 

Even if nothing else had been published except these 110 pages of 
material in chapters 10-12, it would have been worth the entire price of the 
book. In fact, since nearly one-fourth of the book is devoted to this 
fascinating topic, with key quotations from early explorers, the volume might 
well have been subtitled to reflect this emphasis. An added attraction is eight 
photographs of several frozen mammoths or close-ups of parts of them. 

From a theological perspective, the book is impressive because a serious 
attempt is made to deal with biblical exegesis before scientific problems are 
confronted. "One of the strong points of 77?? Genesis Flood is the authors' 
attempt to lay out a careful exegetical foundation before beginning to make 
scientific conclusions. The same practice will be followed in this book. Before 
the science of such a canopy can be considered, it must first be established 
from the Bible exegetically that such a canopy existed" (p. xviii). 

True to his promise, Dillow provides a 40-page introductory chapter of 
the relationship between biblical exegesis and scientific theory. Here the 
concept of the Bible as a 'textbook of science' is explored (pp. 2-7), the 
critical view of Genesis 1 as a reflection of ancient Near Eastern mythology is 
answered (pp. 7-11), the nature of scriptural language explained (pp. 11-12), 
and the possibilities of extracting scientific truth from Genesis is set forth in 
terms of six basic hermeneutical principles (pp. 12-41). Dillow resists the 
tendency to read modern technical scientific ideas into Genesis, but neverthe- 
less finds significant scientific truths in those early chapters. "The area of 
significance, cautiously applied, and with the assumption that present-day 
laws of nature applied then, can give us a 'scientific textbook' look at the 
world that used to be" (p. 37). 

Following this are two chapters (pp. 43-111) of careful exegesis of 
"Biblical Evidence for the Water Heaven Theory." Among the concepts 
considered here are "the firmament" (pp. 43-48), "the waters above the 
expanse" (pp. 48-65), the amount of rain in the Flood (pp. 65-75), "no rain, 
but a mist" (pp. 77-93), the absence of rainbows before the Flood (pp. 93-98), 
the lack of seasons before the Flood (pp. 98-101), the expression "very good" 
(pp. 101-2), ancient longevity (p. 102), and the cause of Noah's drunkenness 
(pp. 102-8). 

Our author then provides a brief chapter (pp. 1 13-34) on "The Canopy in 
World Mythology," with special focus on Babylon, Egypt, Greece, India, 
Persia, Polynesia, and Sumer. He concludes: "The parallels to the Genesis 
record of a water heaven are frequent, interesting, and precise. ... If there 
were a water heaven that condensed and resulted in a global deluge, we 
would expect to find a universal flood and water heaven traditions — and this 
is exactly what we do find. This tends to supply circumstantial evidence for a 
universal flood" (p. 129). 

In addition to the areas of strength already noted, the reviewers feel that 
certain propositions offered by Dillow should be highlighted for those 
involved in the current renaissance of biblical creationism/catastrophism. 



WHITCOMB AND DEYOUNG: PRE-FLOOD VAPOR CANOPY 127 

First of all, quoting favorably E. H. Colbert's assertion that in the ancient 
world "the land was low and there were no high mountains forming physical 
or climactic barriers" (p. 141), our author proceeds with the remarkable 
implications of this fact in terms of the lack of convection updrafts that could 
have disturbed the canopy (p. 246). This is properly connected with Ps 104: 
6-9 (cf. also p. 419). 

Another highly significant contribution is the discussion of the "aero- 
dynamics of the pteranodon" (pp. 147-52). This flying reptile had a wingspan 
of up to 53 feet! Thus, it must have had greater muscular power and 
efficiency than birds do today, including a capability of delivering nearly 100 
watts, and benefitted from "the additional aid that increased oxygen tension 
would make in supplying energy to the muscles under the greater atmospheric 
pressure during the reign of the water heaven" (p. 151). "We assume that 
when Noah took two of every kind on the ark, pteranodons were among the 
animals preserved." But increased post- Flood wind velocities and "lower 
atmospheric pressure resulted in a reduced lift coefficient and an inability to 
fly" (p. 152). 

The book contains numerous examples of such brilliant reasoning, 
though at times the mathematical quantifications are intimidating to all but a 
very small number of readers! Even Henry M. Morris, leading hydraulic 
engineer and author of the Foreword to the book, concurs that "in many 
sections the book will be difficult to follow, even for those with training in 
science and mathematics" (p. xv). But he quickly adds that "it is vital that 
these sections be included for those who may want to check their validity." 

The present reviewers cannot avoid the question, however, whether 
much of the highly technical material should be relegated to footnotes or 
even end notes. It is feared that the tremendous value of Dillow's research 
may be hidden from the eyes of most people by the sheer mass of formulas 
and technical charts. Perhaps a condensed and popularized version is now in 
order! 

Additional very helpful material may be found in Dillow's discussion of 
"the waters above the firmament" (heaven, expanse) in Genesis 1 (pp. 25-26) 
and in Ps 148:4 (pp. 104-8); the growth pattern of reptiles, including 
dinosaurs (pp. 156-57); man's unique ability to accumulate knowledge from 
one generation to another (p. 181); possible environmental factors in pre- 
Flood longevity (cf. subject index: "longevity"); and the metaphysics of 
uniformity (pp. 327, 335, 341). It is also refreshing to see a forthright 
rejection of the "exegetically improbable gap-theory interpretation" of 
Genesis 1:1-2, with a footnote reference to "Weston Fields, Unformed and 
Unfilled, pp. 1-146, for a thorough refutation of the gap theory" (p. 197). 

In a volume of this size, encompassing numerous and highly controver- 
sial issues, it is not to be expected that even creationist reviewers would 
endorse every statement. The following areas of weakness, both theological 
and scientific, are sufficiently serious to be mentioned in a review. 

Is it theologically correct to say that Moses accepted the pagan notion of 
an ancient liquid ocean above the atmosphere (pp. 22, 40)? Would it not be 
more accurate to say that God revealed to him the truth on this matter, which 



128 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the pagan world had largely distorted through oral tradition? In like manner, 
the Flood was not a concept which Moses simply accepted or selected from a 
spectrum of false ideas in pagan mythology. 

Why did Noah become drunk with wine immediately after the Flood 
when he was a righteous man who walked with God (Gen 6:9; 7:1; 9:20-27)? 
Dillow suggests that "Noah was simply caught off guard" and "could have 
unintentionally gotten drunk" because of the sudden change of fermentation 
rates at the time of the collapse of the vapor canopy (p. 103). He assumes that 
greater atmostpheric pressure before the Flood (2.18 times present) func- 
tioned as a "lid" which prevented CO2 production and therefore slowed 
reactions (glucose - ethyl alcohol + 2CO2) so much that grape juice never 
fermented! But this idea is suspect for two reasons. First, increased atmo- 
spheric pressure would have little effect on the fermentation reaction (Le 
Chatelier's Principle). Second, there is no evidence in Scripture that Noah 
was not fully cognizant of what he was doing when he made and drank the 
wine. Note the deliberate actions: "Noah began farming and planted a 
vineyard. And he drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered 
himself in this tent" (Gen 9:20-21). Even a "righteous man" in Scripture is 
capable of sin (cf. Gen 20:9-13; 1 John 1:8-10), and thus an important 
commodity preserved in Noah's Ark was fallen human nature. 

Dillow dates the Flood at 2346 B.C. by taking the view that Genesis 10 is 
a strict chronology (pp. 137, 161-64), without gaps, based upon a doctoral 
dissertation by H. David Clark. But he seems willing to abandon this view 
should the scientific evidence so demand! "Should such conclusive evidence 
be forthcoming that the Flood simply cannot be dated on archaeological 
grounds at 2500 B.C., then, and only then, would the strict interpretation need 
to be abandoned. In that event the gap view of the genealogies gives the 
creationist scientist some breathing room to expand the date of the Flood 
back several thousand years and out of the range of serious conflict with 
archaeology" (p. 164). 

This is a weak position from an exegetical and apologetical standpoint. 
Either the text does or does not allow gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 
and 11. Archaeology, however helpful in many areas of biblical studies, can 
never supplant the clear teaching of Scripture. A far better solution would be 
to acknowledge that the Hebrew word translated "begat" really means 
"became the father or ancestor" of the next named person, the exact 
relationship being determined by the immediate or general context. A close 
study of Genesis 1 1 does indicate that the Flood probably occurred several 
centuries before Abraham (cf. Whitcomb and Morris, The Genesis Flood, 
pp. 474-89). 

A much less important problem is our author's use of Ps 18:7-15 as a 
reference to the Flood (p. 138). While not totally impossible, such a reference 
is conceded to be "debatable," and should therefore be dropped. There is 
really no lack of Biblical material on the Deluge, so questionable proof texts 
do not help the argument. 

On the fascinating question of dinosaurs and the Flood, Dillow suggests: 
"Presumably, Noah would have taken newly born dinosaurs on the ark" 
(p. 155). But in view of the fact that "reptiles continue to grow until death" 



WHITCOMB AND DEYOUNG: PRE-FLOOD VAPOR CANOPY 129 

(p. 156), it might be more realistic to say: "much younger and therefore much 
smaller dinosaurs." 

The reviewers would suggest that the following sentence be dropped 
from the text: "The extinction of one plant that was the sole source for that 
co-enzyme [Vitamin E or C], that is, the fruit of the tree of life, perhaps — 
(Gen 3:24) would be sufficient to alter man's biochemistry and decrease his 
longevity" (p. 175). The biblical record does not indicate that Adam (or any 
of his descendants) ate of the tree of life. 

Another overstatement is that "prior to the Flood, men apparently were 
vegetarians" (p. 180). True, God did not officially permit men to eat flesh 
until after the Flood (Gen 9:3), but since they had been ignoring all of his 
commandments anyway (cf. Gen 6:5), it is highly unlikely that they would 
have obeyed this one. 

Gen 49:25 ("blessings of the deep that lies beneath") can hardly refer to 
"subterranean water" (p. 282). Rather, it refers to oceanic waters below the 
shoreline as explained by Moses himself (Deut 4:18 — "any fish that is in the 
water below the earth"). 

Theologically, one would expect to find a little more emphasis on the 
supernatural causes of the Flood, for this seems to be given the greater 
emphasis in the biblical text, though secondary causes and mechanisms are 
by no means omitted ("all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the 
floodgates of the sky were opened," etc.). The major purpose of the book, of 
course, is to explore some of the physical means God might have chosen to 
use to accomplish his divine judgment upon mankind at the Deluge, and the 
atmospheric conditions that may have preceded it. Nevertheless, in his 
attempt to explain all of these secondary causes, Dillow sometimes leaves his 
readers with only a partial view of Deluge dynamics: "The storms of the pre- 
Flood period . . . unleashed a growing flood." "Due to continental shifts and 
the spewing forth of subterranean waters, the entire earth was covered with 
water" (p. 417). By contrast, note the perspective in Ps 29:10 — "The Lord sat 
as King at the Flood; yes, the Lord sits as King forever." 

Again, in the highly relevant question of what caused the collapse of the 
great vapor canopy, would it not have been theologically reassuring to 
mention God at least once (pp. 267-68)? If God miraculously lifted the 
canopy in the first place (pp. 56-57), was he limited to secondary causes to 
bring it back down again? Thus, the following line of reasoning leaves one 
with a sense of uneasiness: "When several thousand of these volcanoes began 
to erupt all over the earth, the atmosphere would become severely disrupted, 
cooling would result, and rapid dispersal of these nuclei through the canopy 
might be possible. It would appear, then, that perhaps a year of pre-Flood 
atmospheric instability probably built up due to these eruptions, and these 
local instabilities precipitated into a global instability on the day of the 
Deluge" (p. 268). 

Much emphasis is given throughout the book to the supposed change of 
the water canopy from a liquid to a vapor phase (pp. 50-51, 55-62, 103, 111, 
137, 421). The exegetical evidence for an original liquid state seems impres- 
sive, and also the scientific evidence for a later vapor phase. However, there 
seems to be some confusion as to when and how this happened. On the one 



130 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

hand, it is suggested that the change occurred during creation week and was 
therefore miraculous (p. 57). On the other hand, we are told that "this ocean 
turned to vapor by the fourth creative day due to lower pressure and higher 
temperatures. We admit that the text does not explicitly say this. . ." (p. 137). 
The reviewers would suggest, therefore, that both the exact time and means 
of this change be left to the realm of "secret things" (Deut 29:29), if, indeed, 
there was a change at all. It seems somewhat hazardous to postulate the 
mechanisms God might have employed in the accomplishing of his original 
creative acts (cf. Heb 11:3). 

Could this constant appeal to purely physical causes be attributed, at 
least in part, to an inadequate concept of Christian apologetics? Our author is 
certainly correct in saying that "the word faith simply means 'trust.'" But 
then he explains: "As presented in the Bible it is the rational decision of the 
will based on sufficient historical evidence" (p. 425). But what part does the 
Spirit of God have in all of this? Does man, in his spiritual depravity, "trust" 
in God when "sufficient historical evidence" is presented to him? If this be so, 
why did our Lord warn us that "if they do not listen to Moses and the 
Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead" 
(Luke 16:31)? Dillow modestly concedes that "the validity of the Bible's claim 
to be the revelation from God has not been established by the discussion in 
this book," but, he adds, "it is certainly confirmed by them" (p. 423). The 
reviewers feel that the sacred text stands entirely on its own authority, though 
it is true that certain historical or scientific statements in Scripture may be 
illumined or better understood (though not necessarily believed) because of 
human investigation. 

However, the most serious theological problem in the book is the 
frequent reference to a "pre-creation chaos" which God supposedly overcame 
in bringing order into the universe during the creation week (pp. 21-23, 61, 
64-65, 83, 99-101, 107, 119-23). This view has been expressed by one of his 
former instructors, Bruce K. Waltke ("The Creation Account in Genesis 1: 
1-3," BSac 132 [1975] 25-36, and two subsequent issues). 

The "pre-creation chaos" theory assumes that the earth existed long 
before the present universe was created, probably rendered chaotic by the fall 
of Satan. Thus, we are told, the direct creation of the earth is not even 
mentioned in the creation account. The view abounds with exegetical and 
theological difficulties, building upon supposed parallels between Genesis 1 
and Babylonian mythology (cf. preliminary interaction with Waltke's views in 
Weston W. Fields, Unformed and Unfilled [Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian 
and Reformed, 1978], 127, and an unpublished critique dated November 13, 
1978). Thus, the view is not only inadequately supported but is essentially 
irrelevant to Dillow's thesis. Actually, Gen 1:2 does not describe a "chaos" at 
all (cf. John Whitcomb, The Early Earth [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972], 115- 
34), but rather a perfect earth that was incomplete as a home for man at that 
stage of creation events. 

Several scientific questions may be mentioned at this point. First, 
Dillow's brief explanation of the "Greenhouse Effect" (pp. 139-45) needs to 
be expanded with a figure and calculations, since it is important to his model. 



WHITCOMB AND DEYOUNG: PRE-FLOOD VAPOR CANOPY 131 

More should be said about the Venus vapor canopy. A photograph is shown 
(though Venus is not listed in the index), but the 200 mph winds of Venus 
appear to contradict Dillow's ideas of a very stable and stagnant atmosphere. 

Second, Dillow is incomplete in calling cosmic rays "streams of posi- 
tively charged hydrogen nuclei" (p. 165). Cosmic rays also include helium 
nuclei and heavy ions. 

Third, Dillow's canopy model will spontaneously decay, even without 
collapsing. Although the timescale is large (p. 263), the canopy is temporary 
from its creation, thus assuming decay (increasing entropy) even prior to the 
fall of man. The fundamental problem of decay prior to sin should be 
confronted more solidly than by a mere comparison with the sun's assumed 
decay process from the moment of its creation. 

Fourth, Dillow's canopy model faces the same heating problem of all 
such models. A collapsing vapor canopy would raise the atmospheric tem- 
perature to a scorching 1623° C (p. 269)! To avoid this, he hypothesizes a year 
of pre-Flood volcanic activity on a large scale (30-40 simultaneous volcanoes, 
pp. 273, 277, or even "several thousands," p. 268). His motive is to spread the 
time out for vapor condensation, so that the heat could slowly escape the 
earth by thermal radiation. The multiple, violent, pre-Flood volcanoes some- 
how seem to be an artificial requirement. The reviewers are not saying that 
they disagree with the canopy model (they do agree!); but atmospheric 
heating still remains a basic problem. 

Fifth, Dillow does not mention the tidal effects on a vapor canopy. 
Certainly they would be significant on such an air mass, possibly leading to 
instabilities. 

Sixth, one wonders also about the interaction between a vapor canopy 
and a strong magnetic field, which both existed together. Such a magnetic 
field would especially perturb the upper ionized canopy layer, leading to 
intense radiation belts and aurora. 

Seventh, the suggestion is made that C 14 implantation in man after the 
Flood was the cause of decreased life span (p. 166). This appears unreason- 
able because C is a very rare isotope. Today, after considerable C buildup, 
the ratio of C 14 to C 12 is still only one part to a trillion. 

Eighth, the "massive temperature inversion" (p. 240) predicted for the 
pre-Flood world by Dillow could have led to catastrophic air pollution 
problems, just as inversions do today. 

Ninth, Dillow states that "instead of a canopy Udd conceives of a thin 
'plate' in the plane of the equator like Saturn's rings" (p. 194). This is a 
misrepresentation of Udd's position. The misunderstanding is doubtless based 
upon the unfortunate use of the phrase "spherical plane" from the thesis by 
Udd, but the other numerous occurrences of words like "canopy," "sphere," 
and even "bubble" should have prevented Dillow from making this mistake. 
Consequently, the majority of pp. 194-95 are addressed to the critique of a 
model which no one has yet proposed. 

Finally, in the discussion of "blast freezing" of mammoths (p. 418), a 
wind chill table should have been included. Dillow doesn't appear to consider 
the wind chill factor. 



132 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

In spite of these occasional scientific shortcomings, Joseph Dillow has 
made a massive contribution to creation science. In his well-balanced con- 
cluding chapter ("How It All Fits Together"), the author modestly states 
concerning his water vapor canopy model (in contrast to water in liquid 
form, or ice, or clouds): "Even though such a model is not specifically taught 
in Scripture, it is the only form in which the water heaven could have been 
maintained without appeal to special miracle" (p. 422). Thus, while some of 
the ten separate predictions drawn from his model might be explained in 
other ways by historical geologists, "the efficiency of any theory is verified by 
the number of facts correlated divided by the number of assumptions made. 
So the vapor canopy model may be a helpful theory within which to structure 
further investigation of prehistory" (p. 422). 

Four pages of warm and powerful "spiritual implications" of his study 
conclude The Waters Above. Among his final sentences are these: "Faith . . . 
as presented in the Bible . . . means coming to God and deciding to trust in 
Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and entrance into heaven rather than 
continuing to trust in ourselves. Many sincere Christians who are scientists 
would not agree with the vapor canopy theo'ry presented in this book. Many 
others would accept most of it. What all would agree on, however, is the vital 
need to receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord" (p. 426). With this 
perspective the reviewers would heartily agree. 



REVIEW ARTICLE 

The Fundamentalist Phenomenon 
Charles R. Smith 



The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative 
Christianity, ed. by Jerry Falwell, with Ed Dobson and Ed Hindson. Garden 
City, NY:Doubleday, 1981. Pp. 270. $13.95. 



Jerry Falwell asked two of his key pastoral associates, Ed Hindson (a 
Grace Theological Seminary alumnus) and Ed Dobson, "to write a book that 
would trace the rise, growth, development, and contemporary impact of 
fundamentalism" (p. vii). This book is the result, and I agree with Falwell 
that Hindson and Dobson have admirably fulfilled their assignment. Their 
picture of fundamentalism is fair and balanced, properly noting both 
strengths and weaknesses. 

The purpose of Chapter 1 is to cite evidences that "Fundamentalism is 
Alive and Well." The problem of definition is introduced (Just who is a 
fundamentalist?) and statistical data, especially from the Christianity Today- 
Gallup Poll, is summarized. 

Chapter 2 surveys the history of religious non-conformity. At times the 
organizing principles of this historical survey are obscure. The non-conformist 
groups discussed include such doctrinally divergent groups as the Montanists 
and the Brethren. During the process of reading, one cannot help but wonder 
why such individuals as Marcion and Montanus are included, while other 
more notable individuals, equally well known for their doctrinal non- 
conformity, are excluded. One especially wonders why Savonarola, Luther, 
and Zwingli are discussed, yet Calvin is strangely absent. But a careful 
reading of the Concluding Observations at the end of the chapter sheds light 
on this enigma. For Hindson and Dobson, a non-conformist is one who, 
along with other convictions, believes in a separation of church and state 
(p. 53). Apparently Calvin's relationship with the state places him outside the 
tradition of non-conformity. Further questions are raised by the presentation 
of "a definite set of basic principles held in common opposition to mainline 
Christianity" by non-conformists. One of these shared principles is "involve- 
ment in the State," yet under this heading non-conformists are divided into 
three major groups, one of which is said to emphasize "witness without 
political involvement" (p. 55, emphasis added). 



134 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The section on involvement with the State ends with the assertion that 
"the historical position of religious non-conformity is one of spiritual con- 
frontation with society itself" (p. 55). Since this is such a critical premise for 
Falwell's presentation on behalf of Moral Majority, Inc., at the end of the 
book, perhaps it is not impertinent to respond that (1) a "historic position" 
(especially one with non-conformist exceptions?!), as the authors would 
agree, is not necessarily a wise or a biblical position; (2) "spiritual confronta- 
tion" (emphasis added) may have varying definitions; and (3) "confrontation 
with society" need not be the same thing as organized, ecumenical, Christian, 
or church pressure to control State policies. The line between "separation of 
church and state" and "involvement in the state" is often blurred! Many 
"non-conformists" may agree with most or all of the moral principles of the 
Moral Majority yet question the wisdom of attempting to coerce either 
society in general or the state in particular to accept what we may identify as 
Christian principles. Some evangelicals and fundamentalists believe that we 
may have a greater impact as non-conformists by "forcing" society to see that 
we are different than by "forcing" society to be like us! At the same time this 
does not deny the right or responsibility of individual Christians in a 
democratic society to have a positive effect on that society. 

An important misprint occurs on p. 48, where it is stated that Darby 
divided history into dispensations "in which God dwelt in a different manner 
with different people" (emphasis added). On p. 73 the correct word, "dealt," 
is used in a similar statement. 

Chapter 3 presents a helpful, though brief, survey of America's religious 
heritage. As asides, this reviewer would join Pentecostals in objecting to the 
remark that their emphasis on charismatic gifts is "diametrically opposed" to 
their acceptance of a dispensational scheme (p. 70), and would object to the 
comment that the "dispensationalists' [assumed] lack of social concern and 
involvement with the present world" was (or is) due to their dispensational 
scheme (p. 73). With regard to the latter, would it not be fairer to assert that 
a mark of fundamentalism, including dispensationalism, is its greater empha- 
sis on spiritual than on social concerns? Indeed, it is on this very basis that 
some evangelicals question the wisdom and the congruity of a fundamentalist 
Moral Majority campaign. 

Chapter 4 summarizes the major events of the fundamentalist war with 
liberalism between 1900 and 1930. It includes abridged biographies of major 
personalities involved in this war. The brevity of treatment allows for a 
number of ambiguities and optional interpretations. For example, the state- 
ment that William Jennings Bryan's fiasco in attempting to defend creation 
"proved disastrous for Bryan and Fundamentalism" is certainly an over- 
statement (p. 86). In fact, it could be argued that the event served as a 
catalyst for more reasoned defenses and for the subsequent advance of 
fundamentalism. 

With regard to the waning days of the fundamentalist-liberal controversy 
(1925-30), the authors state: "In the twelve years since its inception, the 
organization [the World's Christian Fundamentalist Association] had lost the 
vitality and purpose for which it was originally founded. Rather than fighting 
modernism, it was now committed to building its own movements through 
churches, schools, and colleges" (pp. 90-91). It is hoped that readers will not 



smith: fundamentalist phenomenon 135 

view this as a detriment to the fundamentalist movement. To the contrary, it 
could be argued, as the following chapter implies (p. 110), that this was not 
the waning of a war but the real beginning! With this in mind, one cannot 
help but wonder why the founding of Dallas Theological Seminary in 1924 by 
Lewis Sperry Chafer, as a direct reaction to contemporary liberalism, was not 
even mentioned in the chapter. In view of the statistics regarding funda- 
mentalist/evangelical pastors, educators, and publications, a Dallas propa- 
gandist could build a case suggesting that no event of that period accomplished 
more for the cause of fundamentalism/ evangelicalism. (Amazingly, it is later 
affirmed [p. 128] that the World Baptist Fellowship retained "national promi- 
nence and influence through the Arlington [Texas] Baptist schools"!) 

Chapter 5 describes the "Aftermath" of the great fundamentalist-liberal 
controversy. The introduction to the chapter speaks of "three separate 
impulses: Fundamentalism, Liberalism, and Evangelicalism" (p. 109). In spite 
of the asserted need to understand the role of evangelicalism (as well as that 
of liberalism) if one is to understand the apparently different role of funda- 
mentalism, these roles are not separated or delineated in this chapter. 
Chapter 6 does draw clear distinctions between fundamentalists and "New 
Evangelicals" (sometimes labeled only as "Evangelicals"). There is a one-page 
paragraph in Chapter 5 which discusses the issue of secondary separation and 
concludes with the obvious statement that "the degree of one's separatism 
became a hotly debated issue in many fundamentalist circles" (p. 140). This 
remark certainly deserves elaboration. In earlier periods (as in Chapter 1 of 
this book) fundamentalism and evangelicalism were described primarily in 
doctrinal terms as in opposition to liberalism. But it is safe to conclude that 
the distinction now often recognized (as in Chapter 5 of this book) between 
evangelicals and fundamentalists is not essentially doctrinal but is based 
primarily on views of separation (or separatism) — especially as this relates to 
attitudes toward social issues and relationships with those who differ. 
Apparently an evangelical is one who holds to the doctrines formerly 
identified as the marks of fundamentalism, whereas a fundamentalist is one 
who shares these convictions but is also opposed (1) to any emphasis on 
social welfare as of greater or equal importance with evangelism, and (2) to 
any cooperation with liberals which would give the impression that they are 
to be recognized as fellow believers. In addition, in some circles, the term is 
reserved for those who live a distinctively separatist lifestyle in abstaining 
from any use of alcoholic beverages and attendance at commercial movie 
theaters (cf. p. 156). Since evangelicals and fundamentalists alike are some- 
times alarmed by extreme fundamentalist attitudes (such as those represented 
by Norris in the past or by Ruckman in the present), it is no wonder that 
some have preferred to avoid the opprobrium often associated with the 
fundamentalist label (or what is known as the "fundamentalist mentality"). In 
view of these concerns, perhaps it is best to define a fundamentalist as one 
(1) who believes the fundamentalist doctrines, (2) who is willing to accept the 
label, and (3) who will be recognized as such by a majority of others who are 
willing to accept the label! 

The implicit thesis of the opening paragraphs of Chapter 6 is that by 
1976 the fundamentalist movement appeared to be as permanently frag- 
mented as was Humpty Dumpty after his fall, but Jerry Falwell and the 



136 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Moral Majority put the pieces together again! As the movement united 
against liberalism in the 1920s, so it has now united against secular humanism. 
These opening statements, along with the chapter title, "The Resurgence of 
Fundamentalism," hardly prepare the reader for the actual contents of the 
chapter. It does not deal with any resurgence at all (whether real or imagined) 
but describes reactionary fundamentalism, neo-evangelicalism, and the weak- 
nesses of fundamentalism. The picture of fundamentalism is one of dismal 
fragmentation and excessive bickering, with only the primary strengths of 
individual commitment and zeal. 

In describing the fundamentalist fragmentation, the chapter introduces 
the problem caused by hyper-fundamentalists who accuse main-line funda- 
mentalists, such as Jerry Falwell, of being pseudo-fundamentalists or even 
pseudo-neo-fundamentalists. Apparently, the primary characteristic of a 
pseudo-neo-fundamentalist is that he has been friendly with the neo- 
evangelicals — at least he is not as spiritual or as separated as the one who 
assigned him that label! 

Chapter 6 includes a careful explication of both the concerns and the 
errors of neo-evangelicalism. It is duly noted (p. 163) that the evangelicalism 
of the 1940s was in reality fundamentalism under another name. But ambi- 
guity in labeling cannot be avoided. The term "evangelical" is sometimes the 
equivalent of fundamentalist and sometimes its antithesis. This ambiguity is 
not entirely the fault of the authors. Indeed, contrary to the practice of many 
authors when dealing with this subject, they have done an admirable job in 
avoiding unnecessary labeling and "pigeon-holing." 

The most helpful part of Chapter 6, and of the entire book, is its 
discussion of the weaknesses of fundamentalism. The evaluation is honest 
and irenic and should be carefully studied by every fundamentalist (and/ or 
evangelical). Major weaknesses cited include the following: (1) Little capacity 
for self-criticism; (2) Over-emphasis on external spirituality; (3) Resistance to 
change; (4) Exaltation of minor issues; (5) The temptation to add to the 
Gospel (eschatological distinctives, etc.); (6) Over-dependence on dynamic 
leadership; (7) Excessive worry over labels and associations; (8) Absolutism; 
and (9) Authoritarianism. 

The final section is Jerry Falwell's postscript which presents an "Agenda 
for the Eighties." It incorporates his agenda for, description of, and defense 
of Moral Majority, Inc. It is not a chapter of the book. It is related to the 
historical review of fundamentalism (the rest of the book) only in that it is 
Falwell's vision of what fundamentalism should accomplish. I will not 
attempt here to present a full evaluation of Moral Majority, Inc. All 
fundamentalists (and/ or conservative evangelicals) share many, if not all, of 
the concerns of Dr. Falwell. But, as everyone knows, there are genuine 
differences of opinion, especially regarding methodology. As individuals. 
Christians certainly have all the rights which Falwell endorses for the Moral 
Majority, and certainly this organization has the right to disseminate the 
convictions of its supporters on all the issues with which they are concerned. 
But since not all sins can be placed in the category of those which should be 
outlawed by the state, many fundamentalists have sincere questions about 
whether any group of people, even a majority, in our democratic and 



smith: fundamentalist phenomenon 137 

pluralistic society has the right to impose its own lifestyle on the general 
populace. 

Many believe that, though the ultimate form of human government will 
be a theocracy, it is wrong for mere mortals to attempt to establish such a 
government — whether by force of arms or by other collective coercion. Such 
attempts will culminate in alignment of force against force. And since 
according to the testimony of our Lord himself, the majority are on the broad 
road that leads to destruction (and are thus immoral), the prospects for 
success in such a conflict are not bright. 

In order to preserve the right of fundamentalists to boycott television 
sponsors, Falwell must endorse the right of ERA advocates to boycott states 
that have refused to ratify the amendment (pp. 191-92). The right of 
individuals to do so in either case is not questioned. But is it right for 100,000 
activists from across the nation to prevent conventions from meeting in 
Illinois — to the great detriment of that state and its citizens who have voted 
against the amendment? 

Though there may never be complete agreement on the answers to 
questions of methodology such as those posed above, Falwell is to be 
commended for his irenic approach and Christian attitude. All evangelicals 
(and/ or fundamentalists) should read this book and ponder its call to genuine 
Christian unity and to active confrontation with a sin-wrecked culture. He is 
right in appealing to "true fundamentalists" who are to the left of the "hyper- 
fundamentalists," and to "sincere evangelicals," who are to the right of the 
"neo-evangelicals" to acknowledge their common ground and heritage. 



BOOK REVIEWS 



Crucial Questions in Apologetics, by Mark M. Hanna. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1981. Pp. 139. $5.95. Paper. 

Apologetics is the theological discipline that brings theology to interface 
with philosophy. The key point of contact is epistemology. This provocative 
book questions the correctness of empirical epistemology as well as that of 
presuppositional epistemology. Veridicalism is presented as a more adequate 
epistemological starting point that will satisfy the claim of special revelation, 
the claims of experience, and the claims of reason. 

A brief presentation of subject matter is followed by a section of 
questions and answers. A review of contemporary challenges, the relation of 
apologetics and theology, and the distinctive approaches of presuppositional- 
ism, verification, and veridicalism constitute the pattern of the work. Signifi- 
cant criticisms are brought against both the presuppositionalist and the 
verificationalist. These criticisms warrant careful consideration from each 
position. Criticism is balanced with appreciation for that which Hanna feels 
is of value from each of these divergent views. 

Verdicalism's vision seems to be a form of foundationalism. Knowledge 
can be reduced to certain foundations. These foundations in the past have 
either led to skepticism through empiricism, or to dogmatism through 
rational apriorism. Hanna seeks to escape both by reducing knowledge to 
phenomenological givens. He defines a given as that which presents itself to 
awareness, does so directly, and as something that can be corroborated by 
reflective examination of it and its comportation with other givens. Givens 
are of two types. There are self-evidencing givens, like the principle of 
noncontradiction, and perceptual objects, that are universal and thus form 
neutral ground for the believer and unbeliever. There are self-evidencing 
special givens like the Bible (pp. 101-3). 

The focus of the vision of veridicalism is now clear. Both empirical and 
non-empirical universal givens are used in gaining certainty. Justification of 
the truth of Christianity stems from the union of the special givens of Bible 
with the relevant universal givens. A major question arises over what union 
or comportment actually mean? Is this a form of phenomenological idealism 
in which rational coherence to givens is the basis to justify truth claims? 

Hanna has promised another book to expand and develop veridicalism. 
One hopes that the question/ answer format is abandoned, for at best the 
questions seemed contrived and not the most relevant questions to be asked 



BOOK REVIEWS 139 

in light of the content. Veridicalism is a creative position in apologetics and 
this seed book deserves wide reading in the evangelical community. 

James Grier 
Cedarville College 

Introduction to Philosophy, by Norman Geisler and Paul Feinberg. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 447. $14.95. 

Students in introduction to philosophy courses will benefit greatly from 
this well written, concise, and rather inexpensive textbook. The authors have 
chosen the problem/ question approach to deal with the content of philos- 
ophy. Four major problems are addressed by the questions: What is knowl- 
edge? What is real? What is ultimate? and, What is good or right? These 
questions are answered by the subject content of epistemology, metaphysics, 
philosophy of religion, and ethics. In each part of the text a consistent 
method is used to explicate the subject. A survey of proposed solutions to the 
problem is given, a critique is offered of all the non-theistic solutions, and a 
Christian perspective is developed to solve the problem. 

Most introductory textbooks overlook the need to give a basic section 
on the function of inductive and deductive arguments in the study of 
philosophy. The strength of the introductory section is the helpful chapter on 
tools and their use in philosophical inquiry. The weakness of the introductory 
section from a Christian theistic perspective is the lack of any discussion of 
the relation of Christian philosophy to the theological disciplines. 

The book is written from the theological perspective of a very limited 
Calvinism and from the apologetical stance of evidentialism. Vindication of 
Christian theism is based on the principle of stultification inherent in all non- 
theistic positions. Christianity is demonstrable on the basis of inductive 
probability. The evidence is better explained by Christianity than by any 
other form of theism. Thomistic proofs are reworked as the basis for positive 
proof of theism. Reason is the basis for judging whether or not the Bible is a 
revelation from God. Once the inductive inference from the evidence for the 
Bible is accepted, then reason must not be used to judge or reject any part of 
the revelation. Reason now must take its place under revelation (pp. 269, 
270). One must make an unconditional commitment to Christianity which 
exceeds the probable evidence we possess. Certainty cannot be attained when 
dealing with matters of experience like the resurrection of Christ and our 
experience of saving grace. The impossibility of certainty is replaced by 
certitude concerning these beliefs through the internal work of the Holy 
Spirit in which he gives internal assurance (pp. 129-31). 

Perhaps the most telling criticism is that this is mostly a book about 
philosophy and not a philosophy book. Much of the material is a descriptive 
recitation of views and problems without vital interaction with the subject 
matter. Lively interaction with the literature takes place in the small yet 
valuable sections that offer critique of non-theistic positions. One could wish 
that more of the subject had been handled in this vital way. 

James Grier 
Cedarville College 



140 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in their Historical 
Setting, by Robert Banks. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980 (American edition 
published through special arrangement with Paternoster Press, England). 
Pp.208. $5.95. Paper. 

This interesting work includes a preface, introduction, eighteen chapters, 
conclusion, appendix, bibliography, and glossary. It is designed to be "not a 
technical work, nor a popular one either" (p. 7). Paul is approached "as a 
social thinker rather than a systematic theologian" (p. 8). The author is 
Senior Lecturer in the School of History, Philosophy, and Politics at 
Macquarrie University, Sydney, Australia. He has been involved in developing 
house churches in Canberra and Sydney. 

Banks' desire to write neither a technical nor a popular work is at once 
both an advantage and a disadvantage. His style of writing is easily compre- 
hensible; no one should be afraid of going in "over his head" with this book. 
The book is footnoted only with references to the NT, Qumran, and rabbinic 
literature. This format makes for a readable work, and hopefully the book 
will be widely read by both pastors and informed "lay" people. (Banks would 
not like this distinction!) However, the book may be viewed as "too technical" 
by many "lay" people and as "too shallow" by scholars. At times I wished for 
more depth in the use of Greek and for interaction with opposing viewpoints. 
Thus, the book could miss both the popular and scholarly markets. 

Banks approaches Paul from a warmly appreciative evangelical view- 
point. Though he has high respect for the Bible, he registers doubts about the 
authenticity of Ephesians, Acts, and the pastoral epistles in his introduction 
(pp. 1 1-12). At the end of the book he cautiously concludes that the evidence 
does not "require, though it may permit," a non-Pauline view of the author- 
ship of Ephesians (p. 192). Though he does not view Luke as purveying "early 
Catholicism" in Acts, he does judge the pastoral epistles in this fashion. The 
title of the Appendix, "The Drift of the Pastorals," cryptically expresses his 
conclusion that in the pastorals "the first tentative steps away from Paul's 
ideas of community were made with the best intentions, in the name of Paul 
himself!" (p. 198). These sentiments mar an otherwise respectful attitude for 
God's inerrant Word. 

After two brief introductory chapters on the historical setting of Paul's 
churches and the radical freedom possessed by believers. Banks discusses the 
church as both a household gathering and a heavenly reality. This second 
category, a "heavenly reality," is Banks' term for what has been variously 
classified as the "mystical" or "universal" church, or the "church triumphant." 
Banks does not like the term "universal church" (pp. 37, 44-47), though it is 
difficult to see a great deal of difference between his "heavenly reality" church 
and the dispensational view of the universal church. 

The following two chapters on the metaphors of the church as a family 
and as a body were the most helpful to me personally. Banks has probed 
deeply and successfully into Paul's thought here (pp. 52-70). The material on 
the intellectual elements in Christian growth was also quite informative and 
stimulating (pp. 71-79). Following these enriching studies are chapters which 
survey the "ordinances," spiritual gifts, the role of women, and Paul's 
relationship to his churches. 



BOOK REVIEWS 141 

Many readers of the GTJ will disagree with Banks on various exegetical 
and theological points. He views Ephesians as a "general letter addressed to a 
broad group of Christians" (pp. 10-11, cf. p. 44). This view is assumed 
without any discussion of the textual problem of Ephesians 1:1 or the fact 
that nPOI EOESIOYI is the title of this letter in the ancient manuscripts.* 
Banks' position that the "Colossian heresy" had its background in the 
Hellenistic mystery religions rather than in Judaism is also debatable (p. 77). 
All of the spiritual gifts (xapiopaia) are viewed as permanent, including 
tongues and revelatory prophecy (pp. 95, 123-24). The problem concerning 
women which Paul confronts in 1 Corinthians 1 1 concerns length of hair, not 
the wearing of veils (p. 124). Women may teach and preach in Paul's 
communities (p. 127), since the restrictions of the pastoral epistles are 
evidently deutero-Pauline (p. 195). There were no formal offices of bishop or 
deacon in Paul's churches (pp. 146-50). Here Banks labors to exegete 
Phil 1:1 and Acts 14:23, but the result is not at all convincing. Again a 
supposed "early Catholic" thrust is seen in the pastorals (pp. 195-96). 

These problems by no means weaken the major purpose of the book. It 
is quite successful in underlining the major features of Paul's house churches. 
Even if one does not agree that this primitive pattern is normative for today 
one can still profit from the book. It offers a needed criticism, both to 
institutionalized denominationalism and to the "bigger is always better" 
philosophy of church growth. Pastors and others concerned with the inner 
life and dynamic of the local church will profit from this work. 

David L. Turner 

*For a defense of the view that Ephesians was addressed to Ephesus, see GTJ 
2 (1981) 59-73. 

Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation, by 
Henry A. Virkler. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 255. $12.95. 

Normally, when one peruses a textbook on hermeneutics, all that is 
found is the discussion of general and special interpretive principles for 
approaching a biblical text. However, the critical need within the evangelical 
community is not another book which simply elucidates hermeneutical 
principles, but instead, a work which helps the student to translate the 
principles of hermeneutical theory into practical exegetical steps. It is in this 
area that Virkler seeks to make a distinct contribution, and he has succeeded 
in his endeavor. 

The work resembles those of Mickelsen and Ramm in many respects. 
For example, Virkler initially outlines the history of interpretation and then 
sets forth principles both general and special for interpreting the sacred text. 
However, Virkler is more up-to-date, with discussion of current hermeneuti- 
cal issues in several areas. Several will be highlighted. 

In his introduction Virkler focuses on some major, controversial issues in 
contemporary hermeneutics. One of these is the issue of "validity in interpre- 
tation." After interacting with E. D. Hirsch's significant work. Validity in 
Interpretation, he concludes that it is "the task of the exegete to determine as 
closely as possible what God meant in a particular passage rather than what 



142 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

it means to me" (p. 24). Other introductory issues which are given considera- 
tion are sensus plenior (which he rejects) and "inerrancy" (which he strongly 
supports). 

In the discussion of "The History of Biblical Interpretation," Virkler 
devotes considerable space to the NT writers' use of the OT. He opts for a 
"normal" approach to the OT by the NT authors and concludes that such a 
practice "lays the basis for the grammatical-historical method of modern 
evangelical hermeneutics" (p. 58). 

The highlight of Virkler's discussion on "general hermeneutics" is his 
treatment of "Theological Analysis." He notes that theological analysis asks 
the question, "How does this passage fit into the total pattern of God's 
revelation?" (p. 152). He offers a discussion of several theoretical systems 
which claim to present that "pattern," from "Dispensationalism" (which 
Virkler presents as stressing more discontinuity than continuity) to "Cove- 
nantal Theory" (which is presented as being on the opposite end of the 
spectrum). Virkler himself seems to prefer what he calls the "Epigenetic 
Model," a model which may be viewed as a middle road between Dispensa- 
tionalism and Covenant Theology. Virkler further attempts to offer a method- 
ology for deciding among the different models. His attempt, however, is less 
than convincing. 

Perhaps the most significant contribution of the entire volume is found 
in the last two chapters. In his chapter on "Applying the Biblical Message," 
Virkler states that to show legitimately the relevance of the narrative portions 
of Scripture for contemporary believers, the method of "principlizing" must 
be practiced. With this the reviewer would heartily agree. He argues that a 
failure to do this will lead to a "b.c. message" instead of one that is applicable 
to believers today. 

In the same chapter Virkler also proposes a model for translating biblical 
commands from one culture to another. Although he is successful in estab- 
lishing guidelines for the translation of principles, he does not really solve the 
problems related to the translation of the "behavioral expression" of prin- 
ciples, particularly in terms of thorny passages such as 1 Cor 11:2-16. 

Virkler concludes with an excellent discussion of the minister's task and 
strongly argues for "expository preaching" as that which should characterize 
the church today instead of "sermonizing." 

The pedagogical value of Virkler's work will be appreciated by both 
teachers and students of hermeneutics. He includes throughout the volume 
"brain teasers" (as he calls them), which are practical exercises to involve the 
student in the application of the principles being outlined. He also furnishes 
very helpful chapter summaries and proposes further recommended reading 
throughout his discussions. There is the inclusion of a very helpful bibliog- 
raphy on sensus plenior as well as a general list of over 100 works in the field 
of hermeneutics. This reviewer, however, was surprised not to see included 
such standard works as James Barr's The Semantics of Biblical Language and 
Earle Ellis's Paul's Use of the Old Testament. The book is well written and 
quite irenic in presentation. It should be welcomed as a helpful contribution 

to the study of hermeneutics. 

Tracy L. Howard 

Fort Worth, TX 



BOOK REVIEWS 143 

Islam: A Survey of the Muslim Faith, by C. George Fry and James R. King. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 157. $5.95. 

It will be of interest to our readers to know that our reviewer. Rev. Fred Plastow, has 
been ministering to the Muslim peoples since 1964, serving with the Gospel Missionary 
Union in North Africa and several European countries. He holds the M.A. in Missions 
from Grace Theological Seminary. His thesis, "An Examination of the Quranic- 
Doctrine of Inspiration, " is receiving considerable attention. 

Recent political and economic events have focused the attention of the 
West on the Muslim world. While most secular writers ignore or misunder- 
stand the Islamic religious influence, authors C. George Fry and James R. 
King seek to present an overview of the Muslim faith for the Christian who 
may be in contact with Muslims. George Fry is Director of Missions 
Education at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Co- 
author James R. King is Professor of English at Wittenberg University. They 
previously co-authored The Middle East: Crossroads of Civilization. 

This volume could be termed scholarly because of the evident grasp of 
the religion and history of Islam manifested in the book. The authors are also 
aware of the Arabic language and related Islamic terms. The book contains a 
good balance of geography, history of the Muslim faith, and the religious 
beliefs and practices of Islam — all in readable style. 

In the preface the authors state, "This book ... is dedicated to the 
assumption that our only real way out of the difficult challenges facing us 
throughout the Islamic world is the way of understanding and reconciliation" 
(p. xii). Their premise is that dialogue is the most fruitful means of approach 
and that many commonly shared beliefs and symbols of Islam and Christian- 
ity can be a basis for this dialogue. One is surprised later then to read, "In 
short, the outlook for dialogue or understanding is not very hopeful" (p. 135). 
In giving an example of dialogue, the authors state, "A recent meeting of 
Muslim and Catholic scholars was 'a dialogue with the deaf: the Muslim 
scholars had not taken the time to familiarize themselves with Christianity 
because they thought such familiarity might corrupt them. The conference 
was a failure" (p. 136). These statements, coupled with the admission that all 
initiative for dialogue comes from the West (p. 138), may provoke the reader 
to ask if dialogue is indeed the best approach to Islam. 

The Christian reader, believing that Jesus Christ is the only way of salva- 
tion, will be somewhat astonished at the authors' attitude toward Islam and 
its seeming clash with orthodox faith. For example, when stating that the 
Arabic Allah is related to the Hebrew form El and Elohim, they add, "all 
scholars seem agreed that there is no difference in meaning between the 
Islamic concept represented by 'Allah,' the Christian concept represented by 
'God,' and the Hebrew concept of 'Jahweh.' The view of God is the same 
among all the so-called people of the Book" (p. 48). This evaluation seems to 
ignore the revelational character of the God of the Bible and would equate 
the Qur 3 an, which is the basis of Islam's concept of God, with the Holy 
Scriptures. Throughout the book the authors seek to draw parallels between 
Islam and Christianity. It is not until the last chapter that they insist upon the 
uniqueness of Christianity, yet in terms less than evangelical. "We can 



144 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

appreciate the fact that Islam is a system of faith and ritual and duty, that it 
embodies law, custom, language, philosophy, and art, at the same time that 
we insist that it lacks the central figure who is for us both a symbol and a 
means by which human beings are transformed" (p. 130). 

It is the authors' views of the Islamic prophet Mohammed that will 
provoke the sensibility of many Christians. A few samples: "In his dual role 
as statesman-organizer and prophet-teacher Muhammad is seen to deserve 
richly his name, which in Arabic means 'the praised one'" (p. 35). "By 
Muslims, his life has been taken as a model, as example. Like certain other 
great mystics, Moses, for example, Muhammad himself apparently enjoyed 
intimate, direct, personal contact with God. And like so many other great 
religious leaders, he himself became a symbol of certain spiritual realities, 
certain cosmic truths" (p. 52). 

In describing the Night of Power, known in Islam as the supposed time 
when Muhammad received angelic revelations from Gabriel, the authors 
comment on "the impressions left in his mind; the external teachings about 
morality that were embodied in what he heard; the sense of personal 
transformation; the experience of prophethood; the sense of such perfect 
attunement to God that divine will and human will coalesced" (p. 52). Implied 
in such statements is an acceptance of Muhammad's prophethood and an 
acknowledgment that divine revelation was the result of Muhammad's experi- 
ence. 

"Beneath this man of piety there is yet another level: the Islamic sense of 
the Prophet as perfect man or archetypal man, the universal man who enters 
history at a particular time and is worthy of imitation by all. At this level of 
understanding, such epithets as Thy Servant,' 'Thy Messenger,"Thy Friend,' 
the illiterate Prophet,' and even 'Our Lord' may appropriately be used" 
(pp. 54-55). According to this language, are the authors referring to the 
Muslim view or their own? 

"For Muslims the Qur 3 an embodies the will, the thought, the word of 
God. Thus it seems that comparisons between Christ and the Qur 3 an are 
appropriate, and they are made here with reverence" (p. 61). 

A climactic statement touches on the incarnation. "If indeed he [Mu- 
hammad] was not able to read, there is a striking parallel between the 
unlettered prophet giving birth to the Arabic Word and the Virgin Mary 
giving birth to Christ, the Word of God" (p. 62). We doubt whether the 
readers of this journal would accept such a statement. We note a definite 
tendency on the part of the authors to attribute special spiritual powers to 
Muhammad and to exalt him as a true prophet of God. 

The authors err (p. 63) in stating concerning the Uthmanic recension of 
the Qur D an made by Zaid ibn Thabit, thirty years after Muhammad's death, 
that the vowels were added to the text so that there would be no dispute 
about the meaning of the text. The truth is that vowelling wasn't introduced 
until over a century later, and many 9th century texts were vowelless. There is 
also the fact that there are variant readings of the Qur 3 an. Arthur Jefferey 
has published a list of texts that show several thousand variant readings 
{Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur D an [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 
1937]). 

The authors state, "The Qur 3 an is regarded as Muhammad's one mira- 
cle, not only by Muslims who are themselves unlettered, but by scholars and 



BOOK REVIEWS 145 

theologians as well" (p. 64). Hopefully, Fry and King are referring to Muslim 
scholars and theologians and not Christian ones. Muslims hold that the 
Qur D an is a miracle because no such Arabic could ever by equalled for beauty 
and style. However, the argument is tenuous in that Arabic was the language 
of the Arabian Peninsula. When the Qur D an was revised to guard the purity 
of the Arabic against the intrusion of words from other dialects, the 
Qur 3 anish word (used by Muhammad's tribe) was given preference. It has 
also been shown that the poetry of the Mu^allaqat is similar to the Qur 3 an. 
Furthermore, the best literature that any language might produce is only a 
value judgment, not a proof of inspiration. 

While arguing against all forms of syncretism in approach to Muslims, 
the authors state, "We have already discussed, and we will make further 
comment on, some of the important similarities between Islam and Chris- 
tianity, but at the same time we must recognize that deeply committed 
believers on both sides will continue to confess that the heart of what they 
believe is not negotiable, that it is too precious to compromise" (p. 130). Here 
the authors seem to have answered for themselves the real drawback of this 
form of dialogue. Ultimately, it is an agreement to live in a state of plurality 
with no hope of conversion. 

One passage which has and will offend many Christians, especially those 
engaged in evangelism among Muslims, is the following: "Another question- 
able model, which certain Christians continue to find appropriate, however, 
is to fulfill the obligation to proclaim the gospel by handing out tracts and 
broadcasting radio messages. Such an approach, which avoids personal 
contact and involvement, appears to be indifferent as to who is listening or 
responding. It strikes us, therefore, as a perversion of the Christian gospel 
and its message of caring for, loving, and nurturing individuals. Ultimately it 
is a denial of the incarnation. This kind of indifference is particularly serious 
in dealing with Muslims, who have such strong roots in the 'ummah' or 
community" (p. 131). 

The authors have certainly laid a serious accusation against certain 
missionary activities. The reviewer wonders if they have considered two 
important facts. One is that several Muslim countries do not countenance 
Christian activity on their soil, and thus radio and correspondence courses 
are practically the only form of witness possible. Second, the authors seem to 
be unaware of the thousands of Muslims who are studying the Bible through 
correspondence courses and listening to radio broadcasts and that hundreds 
have come to saving faith in Christ through these means. Rather than being a 
denial of the incarnation, God has been pleased to convert men through 
means of his Word given at the hands of his concerned and dedicated servants. 

In evaluating the work, the reviewer is saddened to see the authors take a 
position that dialogue is the only means of communicating the gospel to 
Muslims and which denegrates other positive means that are being used. One 
wonders if they would want such application made in our society. Is the 
pulpit or conversation the only acceptable means of gospel witness? 

Second, one senses that the authors are caught up in the current trend to 
appreciate and even commend and exalt Islam as a religion. The authors tend 
especially to exalt the Islamic prophet to a place of real prophethood and 
recipient of revelation and inspiration. In no case can the Christian think of 
Muhammad as he thinks of Christ. 



146 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Third, the reviewer feels that the book tends to blunt the Christian 
fervor in preaching the gospel to lost Muslims. The authors quote with 
approval Virginia Cobb's view, "the best defined evangelical posture." "We 
are not trying to change anyone's religion" (p. 137). In view of Islam's denial 
of the redemptive work of Christ and the statement of Jesus, "I am the way, 
the truth, and the life," we cannot agree that Cobb's view is the best 
definition of the evangelical position. 

Finally, the reviewer feels that the authors have failed to discern the vast 
anti-Christ system of religion that denies the deity of our Lord, his Sonship, 
and his redemptive cross-sufferings. These have always been the real stum- 
bling block to a Muslim coming to Christ. The reviewer feels that what is 
needed is not a greater appreciation and understanding of Islam but a greater 
appreciation of our highly exalted Savior who is coming soon to reign over 
all the earth. 

Fred Plastow 

Prescription for Preaching, by Woodrow Michael Kroll. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1980. Pp. 278. $9.95. 

When he wrote this book, Dr. Kroll was the Chairman of the Division of 
Religion at Liberty Baptist College. In January, 1981, he became the Presi- 
dent of The Practical Bible Training School in Johnson City, NY. 

Kroll has taken on a broader objective than the title of his book would 
indicate. It is his purpose to provide a ". . . self-contained course on the 
theory and practice of public speaking and homiletics" (p. vii). In keeping 
with that broad purpose Kroll takes up many subjects not normally under- 
taken in a homiletics book, utilizing five chapters for the first part (pp. 1- 
1 14), four chapters for homiletics in general (pp. 1 15-82) and a final chapter 
to set forth his prescription for preaching (pp. 183-255). 

One could be "picky" with some minor things within the book. For 
instance, Kroll says that his book contains ". . . time-tested principles of 
speech with a heretofore unknown, but equally time-tested, approach to 
homiletics" (p. vii). If this approach to homiletics were heretofore unknown, 
how could it possibly be equally time-tested with the principles of speech 
which have been known from the days of Aristotle? But this might cause us 
to lose sight of all the positive contributions that the book has made. 

Other things in the book are more serious and do demand comment and 
correction in future editions of the book. Probably the most serious flaws are 
found in the chapter, "Your Remarkable Sound System." After an excellent 
discussion on the necessity for studying and mastering the art of speaking. 
Kroll turns to a discussion of the mechanics of speech. He is to be com- 
mended for his attempt to relate these things on the level of the layman, but 
at times he does so at the expense of basic accuracy. He frequently refers to 
the "vocal cords," an archaic and inaccurate description for the bundles of 
muscles more properly called "vocal folds." He suggests that the remedy for 
breathiness in voice quality is to combine ". . . the proper method of 
breathing and better articulation" (p. 39). But in the final analysis breathiness 
is caused by too much air passing through the glottis and can be remedied 



BOOK REVIEWS 147 

neither by breathing nor articulation (for neither of these transpires in the 
larynx) but through a closer approximation of the vocal folds to one another. 
The most serious problem in this section comes in his discussion of "Dia- 
phragmatic Breathing." Voice scientists know that the old admonitions from 
voice and speech teachers "to speak from your diaphragm," "to use dia- 
phragmatic support," and to "tense your diaphragm" are anatomical impossi- 
bilities! The diaphragm is a muscle of inspiration (pulling air into the lungs) 
only and once it has completed its "intake stroke" electrically shuts off and 
assumes a coasting checking position ready for the "intake" signal again. One 
could not "speak" from his diaphragm or "tense" his diaphragm if his life 
depended on it! Anyone who breathes does use his diaphragm. It is possible 
to get a minimal amount of air into the lungs by expanding the chest cavity, 
but because of the rib cage, expansion is limited and air must be taken in by 
using the diaphragm which in its downward stroke causes the abdomen to 
expand. 

Kroll urges one to lie on his back and observe that his abdomen rises 
when he inhales — so far so good. He points out that this is the natural way to 
breathe (pp. 44-45) and that somehow we have learned to breathe some other 
way. The assumption is that in the standing position one breathes exactly as 
he does in the prone position. This is a false assumption. It is impossible for 
one to breathe in exactly the same way in both the prone and upright 
positions. The fact of the matter is that everyone breathes entirely different in 
each of these positions! Kroll is right, however, in his general intent, though 
his terminology is wrong. What he wants the speaker to do is to harness his 
abdominal muscles and use them to increase the air intake and then to exert 
control over the air as it is pushed through the glottis. He is correct in his 
contention that many speakers do not use abdominal muscles properly for 
the best efficiency in speaking. To become aware of the muscles used in 
speech, one should take in as much air as he can by expanding both his chest 
and abdominal cavities and then undertake a speech task (like counting as far 
as he can). When one begins to count he notes that he does so with little 
problem because the elastic restoring force of the body is pushing the air 
through the glottis adequately. At midpoint one feels no tension, but as the 
speaking task continues he begins to feel various muscles being called upon to 
maintain the push of air until finally he is able to do so no longer. Practice of 
this task will make one aware of the muscles used in speaking and continued 
practice will enable one to use those muscles more effectively. 

Kroll makes a statement that is inexcusable for its inaccuracy: "Lung 
breathing alone is not only improper — it is harmful as well" (p. 45). No one 
can breathe without using his lungs — not to do so is fatal! The lungs are 
elastic tissue and are air reservoirs only. There is no muscle tissue in them (cf. 
p. 106 where Kroll talks about the "muscles of the lungs"!) so they do not 
assist in taking air in or expelling air. The depression of the diaphragm draws 
air into the lungs and the muscles of the chest and abdomen control the rate 
at which the air is expelled from the lungs. 

Kroll deserves a hearty "amen" for his exhortation to the preacher to use 
proper grammar as he asks, "When is it permissible to use improper 
grammar?" and then states, "The answer is never" (p. 75). One just wishes 



148 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

that Kroll would abide by his own dictum, as he splits nearly every infinitive 
throughout the course of the book! Other than that, grammatical errors 
throughout the book are few. 

Once again, issue must be taken with Kroll as he talks about grouping 
the audience together when it has scattered throughout the auditorium. Many 
preachers make the mistake of seeking to bring the audience together during 
the singing of a hymn or in response to a ministerial harangue. To do so is in 
all probability for his own benefit, rather than for the audience's benefit. 
Studies have shown conclusively that proximity and audience compactness 
have a minimal effect upon the audience. A person selects where he wants to 
sit and resents being asked to relocate. For a speaker to do so risks incurring 
the audience's disfavor, for he has invaded the personal space that they have 
chosen to put between themselves and him. A person in the audience will 
hear what he wants to hear. Therefore, the speaker does better to concentrate 
on the content and relevance of his message than upon the audience's 
proximity to him or upon their compactness with relation to one another. 

The major area of contention with Kroll must be in his presentation of 
the "Practical" approach to homiletics. By this approach he is referring to an 
approach originated by Dr. Gordon Davis, former President of the Practical 
Bible Training School, refined by Dr. John L. Benson, and brought to its 
present form by the author (cf. pp. vii, 189). 

It is good that Kroll calls this method "The 'Practical' Approach to 
Homiletics." Practical it is— biblical it is not. He admits as much when he 
states, "They [the points of a sermon utilizing the method] are totally the 
invention of the preacher, based upon his knowledge of the Word" (pp. 189- 
90). And again, "You should have noticed that nowhere in our discussion has 
a text been used. This is because all sermon examples to this point have been 
of the topical type. They are derived from the fertile garden of the well-read 
preacher's mind" (p. 211). 

The sermons which do use the biblical text do not fare much better 
under this method, as Kroll states: "The basic difference between the topical 
textual sermon and the topical sermon is that in the topical textual sermon 
your ideas are taken from the list of truths derived from a text, whereas in the 
topical sermon ideas are taken from your head" (p. 211, emphasis mine). In 
this method, the source ultimately is the preacher's head, not the text! After a 
number of examples, Kroll states, "Two points must be made to aid in this 
type of preparation. First, one of the key words here is 'implied.' We are 
concerned with what the text says, but we are more concerned with the truths 
that the text implies" (p. 217, emphasis mine). 

Alas, the Topical Expository Sermon does not fair any better under this 
method! Kroll lists five steps in preparing a Topical Expository Sermon: 
(1) Formulate a list of statements made directly in the passage. (2) Formulate 
a list of practical applications to the statements. (3) Decide which of these 
applications is parallel to each other. (4) Formulate a theme which will unify 
these parallel applications. (5) Draw main divisions from the theme and 
parallel applications" (p. 219, emphasis mine). In this methodology the 
ultimate authority is the preacher's mind — what he can do to the text; not 
what the text does to him! 

One would hope for better things from the Textual sermon, but not so. 
Concerning this type of sermon Kroll observes: ". . . the main divisions are 



BOOK REVIEWS 149 

taken directly from the words or expressed ideas of the text. The subdivisions 
are drawn from parallel incidents in the Scriptures" (p. 234). This certainly is 
not an exegetical sermon though it may be drawn from the Bible! The 
developing points taken from one text with points taken from numerous 
others does not result in exposing the text! It results in "shotgunning" and 
ultimate confusion, for the listener does not come to an understanding of the 
text from which the preacher says he is preaching. 

The Textual Expository sermon is anything but expository under this 
method for ". . . this type of sermon is one in which the theme is taken from 
one passage of Scripture but the main divisions are drawn from parallel 
passages" (p. 235). 

When Kroll calls The Expository Sermon ". . . the most important type 
of sermon" (p. 240) one hopes for better things. Kroll gives some helpful 
advantages and disadvantages of this type of preaching, but his outline 
illustrations that follow show that this type of preaching shares the same fate 
as the others when the "Practical" method is applied to its preparation. 

From the standpoint of sermon mechanics, Kroll's method is weakest at 
the point of the proposition. Nowhere does he teach his readers what a 
proposition is or how a proposition is used in constructing and delivering 
sermons. Of the multitude of outlines Kroll gives as illustrations, not one of 
them has a proper proposition! 

From the standpoint of the production of the book, the printer seems to 
have made a couple of errors. On p. 174, the third suggestion for sources of 
illustrative material has been inadvertently omitted. Further, Kroll has every 
right to be angry at the printers for using the back of the dustjacket on his 
book to advertise a homiletics book by another author! 

For all of its flaws, Kroll's book has some outstanding points. Through- 
out the text Kroll combines a good use of humor to make his points. His 
style is readable. He does involve the reader by giving him the opportunity to 
practice structuring sermon outlines utilizing his method (pp. 192-93). The 
book gives evidence that the author is well read and contains an extensive 
bibliography covering the past 100 years of preaching. The index of subjects 
in the back is very helpful for quick reference to the text of the book. Kroll 
has much to offer the reader and both aspiring and practicing preachers will 
find much of help in the book. The methodology espoused is its weakest 
point, for it will teach the preacher how to preach about or from the Bible, 
but will not help him to preach the Biblel God has promised to honor his 
Word — not what the preacher can invent from it! In the final analysis, Kroll's 
book may help one to become a polished pulpiteer, but will do little to help 
him become an authoritative prophet! 

Paul R. Fink 

Liberty Baptist College 

Lynchburg, VA 



Biblical Preaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages, 
by Haddon W. Robinson. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 230. $9.95. 

When you read this book you will want to have pen or pencil in hand so 
that you can mark the many "I wish 1 had said that" kind of statements it 



150 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

contains. You will also want to mark portions to which you will want to 
return later for further reflection. 

Beginning with the establishment of the identity of expository preaching 
and showing that, while most conservative preachers give assent to it, in 
reality they do not practice it, Robinson walks the preacher through the steps 
necessary to prepare sermons that truly are expositional/ expository. Probably 
the unique contribution that Robinson makes to the process is the concept of 
stating the sermon "idea" in subject and predicate form. While this is not new 
to the field of rhetoric (it can be traced back to Aristotle) few homileticians 
have related the concept to sermon preparation. In the text Robinson gives 
some practice in stating the subject and predicate of the sermon idea and in 
the appendix gives further examples for additional practice. One seeking to 
begin expository preaching or seeking to sharpen his skills in the practice will 
find these drills most helpful. 

Two factors would have made a good book better. First, more emphasis 
on grammatical analysis showing "how to do it." Second, in view of the 
importance Robinson attributes to the conclusion of the sermon (cf. pp. 
167ff.) one wonders why Robinson doesn't put those thoughts into practice 
and write a fitting conclusion to his book. He does not summarize, restate, or 
motivate — he simply stops. Perhaps the rationale is that the book is not a 
sermon! However, what better medium to motivate preachers to have a 
proper conclusion could one have than a book which is designed to show the 
preacher "how to do it"? 

Any shortcoming the book may have is far outweighed by its excellencies. 
It will be helpful to any experience preacher and clearly sets forth the privilege 
and task before the neophyte preacher. It will be helpful as a textbook in 
homiletics classes on both college and seminary levels and that is precisely why 
I have adopted it as a textbook for my students. 

Paul R. Fink 

Liberty Baptist College 

Lynchburg, VA 

Baptists and the Bible, by L. Russ Bush and Tom J. Nettles. Chicago: Moody, 
1980. Pp. 456. $10.95. 

Russ Bush and Tom Nettles are to be commended for writing this 
tremendous work encompassing the entire spectrum of Baptists and what they 
believe about Scripture. For those who have been attempting to discover the 
meaning of the phrase "historic Baptist position" as it relates to biblical 
authority, here is a superbly documented effort to elucidate clearly the 
meaning of that phrase. Bush and Nettles are professors at Southwestern 
Baptist Theological Seminary, where they both received their doctorates. 

Why a book on Baptists and the Bible? "Perhaps because the controversial 
issues surrounding the various ideas about biblical authority have recently 
been thrust into the forefront in many Christian denominations. Baptists, no 
less than other denominational groups, need to reach some kind of consensus 
on what they believe doctrinally if they are to face the future with an effective, 
bold mission thrust" (p. 15). 

The book is divided into three main sections. Part one discusses the origin 
of early Baptists, from John Smyth (ca. 1600) to the beginning of the modern 



BOOK REVIEWS 151 

missionary movement (William Carey and Adoniram Judson). For those with 
less interest in Baptist history, this beginning section will read slowly. 
However, there are excellent sections on the great theologins like John Gill, 
Andrew Fuller, Roger Williams, John Bunyan, and Benjamin Keach. The 
section closes with a moving chapter on the separation of Northern and 
Southern Baptists. One truth stands out in the study of these great men. Even 
though they differed over several doctrinal and practical issues, all were agreed 
that the Bible is the Word of God, without error. 

Section two examines more recent Baptists, beginning with J. P. Boyce, 
the founder of Southern Baptist Seminary, and continuing to the famous 
Northern Baptist preacher, Harry Emerson Fosdick. The founding of South- 
ern Baptist Seminary (pp. 20 Iff.) makes for interesting reading. The first 
faculty members, including Boyce, Basil Manley, Jr., and John Broadus, were 
totally committed to the full authority and infallibility of the Scriptures. 
Chapter ten explains the emotional dismissal of C. H. Toy from the faculty of 
Southern Seminary because of his shift to an evolutionary and historical- 
critical view of the Bible. The manner in which the controversy was handled is a 
beautiful picture of the biblical way to respond to error. Chapter eleven 
discusses the famous "downgrade controversy" in English Baptist life. The 
dominant figures involved in the controversy were C. H. Spurgeon and John 
Clifford. It is a description of Spurgeon's separation from the Baptist Union 
because Clifford and his followers moved to a position where conscience and 
reason replaced the Bible as the final authority. The following chapters analyze 
two great American Baptists: A. H. Strong and Alvah Hovey; and four 
influential Southern Baptists: E. Y. Mullins, A. T. Robertson, B. H. Carroll, 
and W. T. Conner. Some will question the authors' conclusions regarding these 
men, especially regarding Strong and Mullins. Strong's position on evolution 
and the use of the historical-critical method makes his understanding of 
biblical infallibility "suspect." One also wonders how Mullins can begin with 
an experiential starting point (similar to Schleiermacher) and arrive at a 
position of inerrancy. Herein lies the greatest problem the authors faced. Do 
the terms "dynamic," "infallible," "inerrant" carry the same theological 
meaning that they did fifty to eighty years ago? It is a problem with which the 
reader will also be forced to wrestle. The firm conservative roots of South- 
western Baptist Seminary are seen in Carroll and Conner. The section closes 
with a discussion of Baptist liberals such as Rauschenbusch, Matthews, Clark, 
and Fosdick, all of whom deny biblical infallibility. 

Part three traces the Baptist confessions from the Charleston Confession 
of 1665 to the 1963 "Baptist Faith and Message" (the London Confessions 
were discussed in a prior section of the book). The final chapter is an excellent 
theological and apologetical discussion of biblical inerrancy. Recent Baptists 
such as Leon Wood, W. A. Criswell, and Earl Radmacher are not discussed. 

Baptists and the Bible is an excellent contribution to the fields of Baptist 
history and bibliology. The summaries are thorough and perceptive. It is sure 
to find a broad reading among the 29 million Baptists in America as well as 
students, pastors, theologians, and lay persons who are interested in the 
current debate over the inspiration and inerrancy of God's Holy Word. 

David S. Dockery 
Fort Worth, TX 



152 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Death and the Caring Community, by Lawrence O. Richards and Paul 
Johnson. A Critical Concern Book. Portland: Multnomah, 1980. Pp. 210. 
$9.95. 

There is nothing flashy here, no new theories or revelations about death, 
just practical suggestions for ministering to the terminally ill. In the opening 
chapter Richards points to the changes in the cause of death and to the 
lengthening of the process of dying which have taken place during this 
century. He notes that "In our modern society, when dying has become a 
process rather than an event, support from a sensitive, caring community of 
brothers and sisters who, with wisdom and love can communicate the value 
of the individual to them and to God, is especially needed" (p. 18). 

In chapter three, Dr. Johnson, a medical doctor, shares "Ten Command- 
ments" for caring: 

1. "Always tell the truth." 

2. "Never set times." (For an impending death) 

3. "Listen with sensitivity." 

4. "Respond to needs." 

5. "Never allow the person to feel abandoned." 

6. "Make yourself available." 

7. "Don't give medical advice." 

8. "If necessary protect the person from himself." (From harmful self-treatment) 

9. "Always hold out hope." (Not necessarily the hope of getting well, but hope 
such as the hope of going home) 

10. "Provide spiritual support." 
Chapter Four includes a helpful checklist for a ministry to family members. 

1. "The family is aware of the nature, treatment, and prognosis of the disease." 

2. "The family understands the likely reactions of the patient to terminal 
illness." 

3. "The family members have supportive relationships with others to whom 
they can talk and express their feelings and needs." 

4. "Transportation, baby-sitting, and other needed help are provided to allow 
family members to visit." 

5. "Family members have been provided with 'time off for recreation, rest, or 
just time to be on their own." 

6. "Spiritual counsel is available to the family as well as to the dying person." 

7. "The need to give the dying person as much control as possible over himself 
and his routines is understood." 

8. "There are relationships in which grief can be freely expressed, and these 
expressions are accepted." 

Chapter Nine outlines "A Basic Course in Caring" for those whose life is 
threatened. The training sessions are organized in fifteen two-hour learning 
blocks. The sessions do not focus on communicating factual data but on the 
sharing of feelings and a caring attitude. For this old seminary professor the 
obvious professional educational approach suggested (group discussions, no 
"right" answers) often seems too much like a pooling of ignorance. But in this 
instance it is obviously important to develop communication and sharing 
skills. 

The book abounds in illustrations of the feelings and needs of those 

whose lives are threatened. The final chapter includes a short bibliography of 

resource materials relating to the needs of the terminally ill and their loved 

ones. 

Charles R. Smith 



BOOKS RECEIVED 



ALEXANDER, DAVID and PAT, eds. Eerdman's Concise Bible Handbook. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 384. $9.95. Paper. 

ALEXANDER, PAT, ed. Eerdmans Concise Bible Encyclopedia. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 256. $8.95. Paper. 

ANDERSON, A. A. Psalms. Vol. 1: 1-72; Vol. 2: 73-150. The New Century 
Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 527; 439. $8.95; 
$9.95. Paper. 

ARMSTRONG, TERRY A., DOUGLAS L. BUSBY, and CYRIL F. CARR. 
A Reader's Hebrew- English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Vol. 1: 
Genesis- Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. Pp. 146. $9.95. 

ARNOT, WILLIAM. Lesser Parables of Our Lord. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 
1981. Pp. 464. $10.95. 

ARNOT, WILLIAM. Parables of Our Lord. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. Pp. 
532. $10.95. 

ATKINSON, DAVID. Homosexuals in the Christian Fellowship. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 127. $4.95. Paper. 

BACHMAN, MAE GRAYBILL. The Silver Feather. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 
1981. Pp. 132. $2.50. Paper. 

BARR, JAMES. The Scope and Authority of the Bible. Philadelphia: 
Westminster, 1980. Pp. 150. $7.95. Paper. 

BARTH, KARL. Letters 1961-68. Translated by Geoffrey Bromiley. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 382. $18.95. 

BARTH, KARL. The Christian Life. Translated by Geoffrey Bromiley. 
Church Dogmatics, Vol. 4, Part 4, Lecture Fragments. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 310. $17.95. 

BEASLEY-MURRAY, G. R. Revelation. The New Century Bible Commen- 
tary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 352. $7.95. Paper. 

BERNARD, J. H. The Pastoral Epistles. Grand Rapids: Baker, Reprint, 1980. 
Pp. 183, indexes. $6.95. Paper. 

BRIGHT, JOHN. A History of Israel. Third edition. Philadelphia: West- 
minster, 1981. Pp. 511. $18.95. 



154 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

BROMILEY, GEOFFREY W. God and Marriage. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 

1980. Pp. 88. $4.95. Paper. 

BRUCE, F. F. I and II Corinthians. The New Century Bible Commentary. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 262. $6.95. Paper. 

BRUCE, F. F. In Retrospect: Remembrance of Things Past. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 319. $13.95. 

BULTEMA, HARRY. Commentary on Isaiah. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. 
Pp. 638. $14.95. 

BYRD, ROBERT LEE, with DORIS ANN HARTLEY BYRD. Vie Trumpet 
Sounds. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. Pp. 126. $2.50. Paper. 

CARNELL,' EDWARD JOHN. A Philosophy of the Christian Religion. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 516. $10.95. Paper. 

CARSON, ALEXANDER. Baptism: Its Mode and Subjects. Grand Rapids: 
Kregel, 1981. Pp. 500. $12.95. 

CARSON, D. A. The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 207. $9.95. 

CARTL1DGE, DAVID R., and DAVID L. DUNGAN. Documents for the 
Study of the Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980. Pp. 298. $8.95. Paper. 

CLARK, GORDON H. A Christian View of Men and Things: An Introduc- 
tion to Philosophy. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 325. $8.95. Paper. 

CLEMENTS, R. E. Isaiah 1-39. The New Century Bible Commentary. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 301. $7.95. Paper. 

COLEMAN, ROBERT E. Written in Blood: A Devotional Bible Study of the 
Blood of Christ. Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1972. Pp. 128. $1.95. Paper. 

CONYBEARE, F. C, and ST. GEORGE STOCK. A Grammar of the 
Septuagint Greek. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Reprint, 1980. $5.95. 
Paper. 

CORDUAN, WINFRIED. Handmaid to Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 

1981. Pp. 184. $7.95. Paper. 

CUSTANCE, ARTHUR C. Vie Mysterious Matter of the Mind. Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 105. $2.95. Paper. 

DODD, C. H. The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, Reprint, 1980. Pp. 96. $4.95. Paper. 

DOUGLAS, J. D., ed. Tlie Illustrated Bible Dictionary. 3 volumes. Wheaton: 
Tyndale, 1980. $99.95. 

EARLE, RALPH. Word Meanings in the New Testament. Vol. I. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 285. $10.95. 

ELLIS, E. EARLE. Vie Gospel of Luke. The New Century Bible Commen- 
tary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 300. $7.95. Paper. 

FERRAR, W. J., ed. The Proof of the Gospel by Eusebius. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 271. $12.95. Paper. 



BOOKS RECEIVED 155 

FINEGAN, JACK. Discovering Israel: A Popular Guide to the Holy Land. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 143. $6.95. Paper. 

FINKEL, ASHER, and LAWRENCE FRIZZELL. Standing Before God. 
New York: KTAV, 1981. $29.50. 

FINNEY, CHARLES G. Principles of Prayer. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellow- 
ship, Reprint, 1980. Pp. 111. $2.95. Paper. 

FRIZZELL, LAWRENCE E., ed. God and His Temple: Reflections on 
Samuel Terrien's The Elusive Presence: Toward a New Biblical Theology. 
South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, 1980. Pp. 80. N.P. Paper. 

GADE, RICHARD E. A Historical Survey of Anti-Semitism. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1981. Pp. 147. $5.95. Paper. 

GALLUP, GEORGE, and DAVID POLING. The Search for America's 
Faith. Nashville: Abingdon, 1980. Pp. 153. $8.95. 

GIBBLE, KENNETH. Mr. Songman: The Slim Whitman Story. Elgin, IL: 
Brethren, 1982. Pp. 158. $9.95. 

GIRARD, ROBERT C. My Weakness: His Strength. The Personal Face of 
Renewal. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 199. $5.95. Paper. 

GOODRICK, EDWARD W., and JOHN R. KOHLENBERGER III, eds. 
The New NIV Complete Concordance. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. 
Pp. 1044. $19.95. 

GREEN, MICHAEL. / Believe in Satan's Downfall. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1981. Pp. 254. $5.95. Paper. 

GROMACKI, ROBERT G. Stand United in Joy: An Exposition of Philip- 
pians. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 197. $5.95. Paper. 

GROMACKI, ROBERT G. The Virgin Birth: Doctrine of Deity. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 202. $5.95. Paper. 

HAGNER, DONALD A., and MURRAY J. HARRIS, eds. Pauline Studies: 
Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce on His 70th Birthday. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 293. $19.95. 

HALES, EDWARD J., and J. ALAN YOUNGRE. Your Money/ Their 
Ministry: A Guide to Responsible Christian Giving. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 113. $3.95. Paper. 

HANNA, MARK M. Crucial Questions in Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1981. Pp. 136. $5.95. Paper. 

HECKMAN, SHIRLEY. On the Wings of a Butterfly: A Guide to Total 
Christian Education. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. Pp. 166. $7.95. Paper. 

HENGEL, MARTIN. Jews, Greeks and Barbarians: Aspects of the Helleniza- 
tion of Judaism in the Pre-Christian Period. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980. 
Pp. 185. $9.95. 

HILLERBRAND, HANS J. The World of the Reformation. Twin Brooks 
Series. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 229. $6.95. Paper. 



156 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

HOEKEMA, ANTHONY A. Tongues and Spirit- Baptism: A Biblical and 
Theological Evaluation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. 2 volumes. Pp. 159, 
101. $6.95. Paper. 

HOEHNER, HAROLD W. Herod Antipas: A Contemporary of Jesus Christ. 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. Pp. 347. $8.95. Paper. 

HOFFECKER, W. ANDREW. Piety and the Princeton Theologians: Archi- 
bald Alexander, Charles Hodge, Benjamin Warfield. Phillipsburg, NJ: 
Presbyterian and Reformed, 1981. Pp. 167. $5.95. Paper. 

HOOVER, STEWART M. The Electronic Giant. Elgin, 1L: Brethren, 1982. 
Pp. 171. $6.95. Paper. 

HORT, FENTON JOHN ANTHONY. Judaistic Christianity. Twin Brooks 
Series. Edited by J. O. F. Murray. Grand Rapids: Baker, Reprinted, 1980. 
Pp. 214. $5.95. Paper. 

HYATT, J. P. Exodus. The New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 351. $7.95. Paper. 

JEWETT, PAUL K. The Ordination of Women. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1980. Pp. 140. $5.95. Paper. 

JOCZ, JAKOB. The Jewish People and Jesus Christ after Auschwitz: A Study 
in the Controversy Between Church and Synagogue. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1981. Pp. 273. $9.95. Paper. 

JOHNSON, CLARA. Milk for the World: The Heifer Project on the West 
Coast: A Story of Love in Action. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. Pp. 160. 
$7.95. Paper. 

JOHNSON, S. LEWIS. The Old Testament in the New: An Argument for 
Biblical Inspiration. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. Pp. 94. $3.95. 
Paper. 

KAC, ARTHUR. The Messiahship of Jesus: What Jews and Jewish Christians 
Say. Chicago: Moody, 1980. Pp. 351. $9.95. Paper. 

KANE, HERBERT. The Christian World Mission: Today and Tomorrow. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 294. $13.95. 

KEE, HOWARD CLARK. Christian Origins in Sociological Perspective. 
Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980. Pp. 204. $8.95. Paper. 

KELLY, J. N. D. A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 264. $6.95. Paper. 

KISTEMAKER, SIMON J. The Gospels in Current Study. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1979. Pp. 169. $6.95. Paper. 

KISTEMAKER, SIMON J. The Parables of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1980. Pp. 286. $10.95. 

KITTO, JOHN. Kitto's Daily Bible. 2 volumes. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 
Reprint, 1980. Pp. 1008, 894. $49.95. 

KOCH, KURT. Occult ABC. Grand Rapids: Kregel, n.d. Pp. 348. $7.95. 
Paper. 



BOOKS RECEIVED 157 

KOHLENBERGER, JOHN R. Ill, ed. The NIV Interlinear Hebrew- English 
Old Testament, Vol. 2: Joshua-2 Kings. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. 
Pp. 512. $19.95. 

LAW, WILLIAM. Christian Perfection. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 
1975. Pp. 145. N.p. Paper. 

LAWHEAD, STEVE. Rock Reconsidered. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 
1981. Pp. 156. $4.25. Paper. 

LAWSON, GEORGE. Exposition of Proverbs. Grand Rapids: Kregel, Re- 
print, 1980. Pp. 890. $18.95. 

LECERF, AUGUSTE. An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 385. $9.95. Paper. 

LEON-DUFONT, SAVIER. Dictionary of the New Testament. New York: 
Harper & Row, 1980. Pp. 458. $19.95. 

LEWIS, ARTHUR H. The Dark Side of the Millennium: The Problem of Evil 
in Rev. 20:1-10. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 65. $4.95. Paper. 

LIGHTFOOT, J. B. Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul. Edited by J. R. Harmer. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, Reprint, 1980. Pp. 324, indexes. $8.95. Paper. 

LINDARS, BARNABAS. The Gospel of John. The New Century Bible 
Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 648. $13.95. Paper. 

LOCKERBIE, D. BRUCE. Asking Questions: A Classroom Model for 
Teaching the Bible. Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1980. Pp. 156. $0.95. 
Paper. 

LOCKYER, HERBERT. The Holy Spirit of God. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 
1981. Pp. 246. $9.95. 

LONGENECKER, STEPHEN. The Christopher Sauers. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 
1981. Pp. 147. $7.95. Paper. 

MACKAY, DONALD M. Brains, Machines, and Persons. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 114. $4.95. Paper. 

MARCHANT, JAMES, arranger and selector. Anthology of Jesus. Ed. by 
Warren W. Wiersbe. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. Reprint of 1926 ed. Pp. 
371. $9.95. 

MARSH, F. E. Living God's Way. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. Pp. 229. 
$4.95. Paper. 

MICKEY, PAUL A. Essentials of Wesleyan Theology. Grand Rapids: Zon- 
dervan, 1980. Pp. 166. $4.95. Paper. 

MOODY, DALE. The Word of Truth: A Summary of Christian Doctrine 
Based on Biblical Revelation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. $24.95. 

MOREY, ROBERT A. Reincarnation and Christianity. Minneapolis: Beth- 
any Fellowship, 1980. Pp. 52. $1.95. Paper. 

MOUW, RICHRD J. Called to Holy Worldliness. Philadelphia: Fortress, 
1980. Pp. 142. $5.50. Paper. 



158 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

MURPHY, ROLAND E. The Forms of the Old Testament Literature: 
Wisdom Literature: Job, Proverbs, Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Esther. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 185. $12.95. Paper. 

NAZIGAN, ARTHUR. Teach Them Diligently: A Devotional Guide for 
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NEWMAN, ROBERT C, and HERMAN J. ECKELMANN. Genesis One 
and the Origin of the Earth. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 153. $4.95. 
Paper. 

NIESEL, WILHELM. The Theology of Calvin. Translated by Harold Knight. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 254, indexes. $6.95. Paper. 

PAUL, CECIL R. Passages of a Pastor: Coping with Yourself and God's 
People. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 127. $6.95. 

PAULUS, LUIS. Walk on Water, Pete! Portland: Multnomah, 1981. Pp. 87. 
N.p. Paper. 

PETERS, GEORGE W. A Theology of Church Growth. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 283. $8.95. Paper. 

PFEIFFER, CHARLES F. The Bible Atlas. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979. Pp. 
340. $9.95. 

PLUMMER, ALFRED. The Epistles of St. John. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
Reprint, 1980. Pp. 193. $7.95. Paper. 

POLING, NANCY WERKING. Worms in My Broccoli: Bittersweet Mem- 
ories of a Venture in Simple Living. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. Pp. 122. 
$2.50. Paper. 

RICHARDS, LAWRENCE O., and CLYDE HOELDTKE. A Theology of 
Church Leadership. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980. Pp. 399. $12.95. 

RICHARDS, LARRY, and PAUL JOHNSON. Death and the Caring 
Community. A Critical Concern Book. Portland: Multnomah. Pp. 210. 
$9.95. 

RIENECKER, FRITZ. A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Vol. 2: 
Romans — Revelation. Translated by Cleon L. Rogers. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1980. Pp. 518. $17.95. 

ROBERTSON, O. PALMER. The Christ of the Covenants. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1980. Pp. 308. $9.95. Paper. 

ROBINSON, MAURICE. Indexes to All Editions of Brown- Driver- Briggs 
Hebrew Lexicon and Thayer's Greek Lexicon. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1981. Pp. 31. $5.95. Paper. 

ROGERS, THOMAS. Greek Word Roots: A Practical List with Greek and 
English Derivatives. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 30. $1.95. Paper. 

ROWLEY, H. H. The Book of Job. The New Century Bible Commentary. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. Pp. 281. $7.95. Paper. 



BOOKS RECEIVED 159 

RYKEN, LELAND. The Christian Imagination: Essays on Literature and the 
Arts. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 448. $10.95. Paper. 

SCHNACKENBURG, RUDOLPH. The Gospel According to St. John. New 
York: Seabury, 1980. 2 volumes. Pp. 638; 556. $29.50 each. 

SCHULTZ, SAMUEL. The Old Testament Speaks. Second edition. New 
York: Harper & Row, 1980. Pp. 436. $11.95. 

SEISS, JOSEPH. Gospel in Leviticus. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. Pp. 399. 
$10.95. 

SELWYN, EDWARD GORDON. The First Epistle of St. Peter. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 517. $10.95. Paper. 

SHORROSH, ANIS A. Jesus, Prophecy, and the Middle East. Nashville: 
Thomas Nelson, 1981. Pp. 145. $3.95. Paper. 

SIMON, MARCEL. Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus. Philadelphia: Fortress, 
Reprint, 1980. Pp. iii + 180. $5.95. Paper. 

SP1EGELBERG, NANCY, and DOROTHY PURDY. Fanfare: A Celebra- 
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SPROULE, JOHN. In Defense of Pretribulationism. Winona Lake: BMH, 
1980. Pp. 57. $2.95. Paper. 

STECKLEY, ANNA MARIE. A Song in the Night. Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. 
Pp. 126. $2.50. Paper. 

STRONG, JAMES. Abingdon's Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the 
Bible, with the Exclusive Key-Word Comparison. Nashville: Abingdon, 
1980. Pp. 340, 227, 79. $24.95. 

Student Map Manual: Historical Geography of the Bible Lands. Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1979. $34.95. 

SWINDOLL, CHARLES R. Make Up Your Mind . . . About the Issues of 
Life. Portland: Multnomah, 1981. Pp. 96. $9.95. 

TOZER, A. W. A Treasury of A. W. Tozer: A Collection of Tozer Favorites. 
Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 296. $3.45. Paper. 

TWOMBLY, GERALD H. Major Themes from the Minor Prophets. Winona 
Lake: BMH, 1981. Pp. 142. $3.95. Paper. 

UNGER, MERRILL F., and WILLIAM WHITE, eds. Nelson's Expository 
Dictionary of the Old Testament. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1980. Pp. 
509. $16.95. 

VAN DOREN, W. H. Gospel of John: Expository and Homiletical. Grand 
Rapids: Kregel, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 1426. $24.95. 

VAN DOREN, W. H. Gospel of Luke: Expository and Homiletical. Grand 
Rapids: Kregel, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 1078. $22.95. 

VERDUIN, LEONARD. The Reformers and Their Stepchildren. Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1980. Pp. 281. $7.95. Paper. 



160 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

WAY, ARTHUR S. Letters of Paul, Hebrews, and the Book of Psalms. Grand 
Rapids: Kregel, Reprint, 1981. Pp. 483. $12.95. 

WESTCOTT, BROOKE FOSS. The Gospel According to St. John. Edited by 
A. Westcott. Grand Rapids: Baker, Reprint, 1980. Pp. 387. $16.95. Paper. 

WILLIAMS, JOHN. The Holy Spirit: Lord and Lifegiver. Neptune, NJ: 
Loizeaux, 1980. Pp. 320. $8.50. 

WHYBRAY, R. N. Isaiah 40-66. The New Century Bible Commentary. 
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 301. $7.95. Paper. 

YAMAUCHI, EDWIN. The Stones and The Scriptures: An Introduction to 
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YOUNG, DAVID. Study War No More. A Peach Handbook for Youth. 
Elgin, IL: Brethren, 1981. Pp. 95. $3.95. Paper. 

ZIMMERLI, WALTHER. Ezekiel I. Hermeneia. Philadelphia: Fortress, 
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Grace 

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GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Volume 3 No 2 Fall 1982 

Contents 
Third (and Fourth) Class Conditions 163-175 

JAMES L. BOYER 

Biblical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage 177-192 

CHARLES C. RYRIE 

Theology and Art in the Narrative 193-205 

of the Ammonite War (2 Samuel 10-12) 

JOHN I. LAWLOR 

The Inerrancy Debate and the Use of 207-219 

Scripture in Counseling 

EDWARD E. HINDSON 

The Promise of the Arrival of Elijah 221-233 

in Malachi and the Gospels 

WALTER C. KAISER, JR. 

The Rich Young Man in Matthew 235-260 

ROBERT L. THOMAS 

The Overcomer of the Apocalypse 261-286 

JAMES E. ROSSCUP 

Book Reviews 287-300 

Books Received 301-304 



CONTRIBUTORS 



James L. Boyer 

Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 46590 

Edward E. Hindson 

Liberty Baptist College, Lynchburg, VA 24506 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, 
Deerfield, IL 60015 

John I. Lawlor 

Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA 18411 

James E. Rosscup 

Talbot Theological Seminary, 13800 Biola Ave., 
La Mirada, CA 90639 

Charles C. Ryrie 

Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204 

Robert L. Thomas 

Talbot Theological Seminary, 13800 Biola Ave., 
La Mirada, CA 90639 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 163-75 



THIRD (AND FOURTH) 
CLASS CONDITIONS 

James L. Boyer 



Third class conditional sentences, a very frequent type of 
conditional sentence, are identified and characterized by their use of 
the subjunctive mood in the protasis. The subjunctive indicates 
potentiality, contingency, or simple futurity. It is the condition which 
points to a future eventuality. The common notion that it indicates a 
degree of probability is examined by inductive study of all the NT 
examples and is concluded to be totally incorrect. Also, the often- 
made distinction between present general and future particular condi- 
tions within this third class is shown to be neither helpful nor 
indicated by NT Greek texts. All third class conditions are essentially 
future contingencies. 



The third classification of conditional sentences in the Greek NT 
occurs almost as frequently as the first and five times more 
frequently than the second. 1 It is designated by many names, reflecting 
different understandings on the part of grammarians of its basic 
significance. 

FORM IDENTIFICATION 

This group of conditional clauses is identified by the use of etiv 
and the subjunctive mood in the protasis. The etiv of course is the 
ordinary conditional particle ei, found in all the other types of 
conditions, combined by crasis and contraction with the modal 
particle av. 2 Primarily it is the use of the subjunctive mood which 



'There are about 305 first-class, 47 second-class, and 277 third-class conditions in 
the NT. For a treatment of the first and second-classes see my preceding articles, 
"First-Class Conditions: What Do They Mean?" GTJ 2 (1981) 74-114, and "Second- 
Class Conditions in New Testament Greek," GTJ 3 (1982) 81-88. 

historical grammarians point out that in late Greek the distinction between ei 
and etiv seems to be fading. See A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New 



164 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

identifies the type. All other conditions use the indicative mood 3 in 
the protasis. 

The apodosis appears in a wide variety of forms. About 150 are 
simple statements of fact, 32 are questions, 32 are promises or threats, 
27 are admonitory, 16 are warnings, 12 are commands, 11 are 
instructions. 

There is no pattern of tenses used, either in the protasis or in the 
apodosis. In the NT examples there are 110 present, 205 aorist, and 3 
perfect subjunctive 4 verbs in the protases. In the apodoses there are 
116 present, 119 future, 7 aorist, and 6 perfect indicatives, 25 aorist 
subjunctives, 26 present and 16 aorist imperatives, 1 present optative, 
1 present infinitive (of indirect discourse), and 2 present participles 
(dependent on an imperative verb). The relationship of this great 
variety to the significance of this class of condition will be examined 
later. 

In the discussion of this many-faceted grammatical construction 
two major questions need consideration; first, the significance of the 



Testament in Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman, 1934) 1017. N. 
Turner says, "It is a feature of Hell. Greek that the connection between the mood and 
the conjunction (e.g., subj. after av) is becoming less determined, and so we have ei 
with subj., edv with ind., ote with subj., oxav with indie, etc. In M Gr only the fuller 
conjunctions edv and oxav remain, and they have both indie, (real) and subj. (probable)" 
(Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 3: Syntax [Edinburgh: T. & 
T. Clark, 1963] 107 n. 2). 

The NT text shows a very few variations from the usual pattern of ei with the 
indicative and edv with the subjunctive, and almost always they are textually suspect. 
The UBS text has 3 examples of ei with the subjunctive: Phil 3:12, Rev 1 1:5 (here it is a 
verbatim repetition of a normal ei + indicative example in the preceeding verse, and 
apparently with precisely the same meaning), and 1 Cor 14:5 (where eKtoq ei urj is a 
fixed formula). There are two examples of edv with a present indicative: 1 Thess 3:8 
and 1 John 5:15 (oiSa is semantically present). These probably reflect the later 
confusion which used edv for ei and thus should be classified as first-class. There are 
two examples of edv with a future indicative (Luke 19:40; Acts 8:31) which may also be 
first class. However, the situation may be different in the case of a future indicative, 
since these forms in other constructions sometimes seem to function as aorist sub- 
junctives (e.g., 23 instances of i'va followed by a future indicative, with no difference in 
meaning). A. T. Robertson points out, "it is quite probable that the future indicative is 
just a variation of the aorist subjunctive" (Robertson, Grammar, 924-25). Hence, edv 
with a future indicative may be a normal third-class condition. 

3 The classical fourth-class condition which used the optative mood does not occur 
in the NT or the Greek of that period except in archaic expressions or fragments of 
sentences. This type shared with the third class the use of a non-indicative mood. Its 
relation to the third class and the actual NT remnants will be treated later in this article 
(seen. 41). 

4 ln John 3:27; 6:65; James 5:15. Also, there are three examples (1 John 5:15; 1 Cor 
13:2; 14:1 1) of the perfect subjunctive of ol8a, but although oiSa is perfect in form it is 
in sense present, and I have counted these three among the presents. 



boyer: third class conditions 165 

subjunctive mood used in the protasis and its bearing on the semantic 
significance of the type of conditional sentence, and second, the 
validity of the oft-claimed distinction between the present-general 
and the future-particular sub-classifications of these edv + subjunctive 
conditions. 

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SUBJUNCTIVE 

Since the use of the subjunctive distinguishes this class from the 
others, it seems obvious that the basic significance must be seen in the 
meaning of the subjunctive mood. Here we face a confusing divergence 
of expression on the part of grammarians. As A. T. Robertson says, 
". . . mode is far and away the most difficult theme in Greek syntax." 5 
Later he says specifically of the subjunctive mood, "So the gram- 
marians lead us a merry dance with the Subjunctive." 6 In spite of the 
difficulty and confusion, however, there is wide-spread agreement 7 on 
its basic meaning. 

Mood of Uncertainty, Potentiality, Futurity 

A. T. Robertson, in his Short Grammar, calls both the subjunctive 
and optative moods "the modes for doubtful affirmation." 8 Later, in 
his major work, he more explicitly summarizes the use of the sub- 
junctive under three headings: (a) futuristic, (b) volitive, and (c) 
deliberative. 9 Admitting that some do not see these as distinct, yet, 
"for practical purposes," he uses them. When he deals specifically 
with conditional sentences he uses the term undetermined to designate 
those which use the subjunctive or optative moods, in contrast with 
those he calls determined, which use the indicative. He explains 
undetermined by saying, "Naturally the indicative is not allowed here. 
The element of uncertainty calls for the subj. or the optative. . . . They 
are the moods of doubtful, hesitating affirmation. ... In this type the 
premise is not assumed to be either true or untrue. The point is in the 
air and the cloud gathers round it." 10 He calls the subjunctive "the 
mode of expectation," 11 and says of its time reference, "the third class 

5 Robertson, Grammar, 912. 

6 Ibid., 927. 

7 In the following discussion I have chosen to use the words of one well-known and 
influential scholar, A. T. Robertson, rather than to record the many similar statements 
of other grammarians. Where there is not this essential agreement 1 shall seek to 
compare and evaluate, as, for example, in the section "Degree of Probability." 

8 A. T. Robertson, A Short Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: 
Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1929) 129-31. 

'Robertson, Grammar, 928-34. 

l0 Ibid., 1004-5. 

"Ibid., 1016. 



166 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

condition is confined to the future (from the standpoint of the 
speaker or writer)." 12 He frequently calls attention to this element of 
futurity: "The subj. is always future, in subordinate clauses relatively 
future." 13 

Seeking to summarize, it seems to me that the use of the 
subjunctive points essentially to the condition expressed by the protasis 
as being doubtful, uncertain, undetermined (because it has not yet 
been determined). The term potential is accurate. It is "not yet." It 
may be, if. . . . Perhaps the term contingent would be even clearer. It 
depends on any number of factors. 14 In any case, the common 
denominator is futurity. As Goodwin says, the "only fundamental 
idea always present in the subjunctive is that of futurity," 15 and he 
traces it back to the idiom of Homer. Perhaps the best name for this 
type of condition is simply the Future Condition.™ 

Basis of Potentiality 

One major item for investigation in this inductive study of all the 
third class conditions in the NT has been the question of the basis of 
the potentiality. Why does the writer use the mood of contingency? 
What is the element of uncertainty involved? On what factors or 
circumstances does the fulfillment of the condition depend? In the 
study of each example in context, first a "basis of potentiality" was 
assigned. Afterward, this list was classified under appropriate group- 
ings. The results are seen in this tabulation, with the number so 
designated, and some examples. 



Personal will, choice, judgment 


53 17 


Spiritual condition 


23 18 


Personal actions 


109 19 


Actions of others 


36 20 


Ability, opportunity 


4 21 


Providence or Futurity 


61 22 



'Ibid., 1018. 

,3 Ibid., 924. 

'"See my next section, "Basis of Potentiality." 

I5 W. W. Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb (New 
York: St. Martin's, 1965) 371; cf. also 372-74, 2-4. 

J. G. Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners (New York: MacMillan, 
1950) 132. 

17 Examples: Matt 21:25, 26; Luke 5:12; 1 John 2:29. 

'"Examples: John 3:3, 5; 8:31; Matt 10:13. 

'"Examples: Mark 3:27; John 13:17; 14:14; Rom 10:9. 

20 Examples: Matt 5:23; Luke 17:3, 4. 

2l Example: Matt 9:21. 

"Examples: Matt 18:12; Rom 7:3; 1 Cor 4:19; 14:28; 16:10; 1 John 2:28; 3:2. 



boyer: third class conditions 167 

The purpose in listing these is not to provide a system of 
classification, but to illustrate and enforce the point that these third 
class conditions are indeed doubtful, contingent, undetermined, 
belonging to the future. All of the instances manifest this quality. I 
believe an examination of the examples will confirm this claim. 

Degree of Probability 

The matter next to be considered brings us to a major problem 
in the way most grammarians have dealt with the third class con- 
ditions: Does the use of the subjunctive imply anything as to the 
degree of uncertainty involved? This clearly is claimed by many 
grammarians. Robertson calls this "Undetermined, but with prospect 
of determination" in contrast with the fourth class, "Undetermined, 
with remote prospect of determination," and says further, "This 
fourth class is undetermined with less likelihood of determination 
than is true of the third class with the subj." 23 Of the third class he 
says, "The subj. mode brings the expectation within the horizon of a 
lively hope in spite of the cloud of hovering doubt." 24 Blass considers 
it to denote "circumstances actual or likely to happen." 25 Winer 
makes it a "condition with assumption of 'objective' possibility where 
experience will decide whether it is real or not." 26 Burton says of it, "a 
supposition which refers to the future, suggesting some probability to 
its fulfillment." 27 Blass-Debrunner describes it as "that which under 
certain circumstances is expected," calling it "a case of expectation." 28 
Chamberlain says of it, "The condition is stated as a matter of doubt, 
with some prospect of fulfillment," then of the fourth class he says, 
"even more doubtful than the third class." 29 

Most explicit of these is the grammar of Dana and Mantey. In a 
very helpful appraisal of the general significance of the subjunctive 
mood, they point out that there are only "two essential moods . . . that 
which is actual and that which is possible. ... So the two essential 



"Robertson, Grammar, 1016, 1020. 

24 lbid., 1016. 

25 F. Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek. Tr. by Henry St. John Thackeray. 
(London, MacMillan, 191 1) 213, 214. 

26 G. B. Winer, A Grammar of the Idioms of the Greek Language of the New 
Testament (Andover: Draper, 1897) 291. 

27 E. D. Burton, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in New Testament Greek 
(Chicago: University of Chicago, 1897) 104. 

28 F. Blass and A. DeBrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other 
Early Christian Literature, trans, and rev. by Robert W. Funk (Chicago: University of 
Chicago, 1961) 188. 

29 W. D. Chamberlain, An Exegetical Grammar of the Greek New Testament 
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1941) 198-99. 



168 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

moods in language are the real — represented in Greek by the 
indicative; and the potential — embracing the subjunctive, optative 
and imperative." 30 Then, however, they proceed to characterize these 
potential moods as representing a continuum of degree of potentiality, 
from objectively possible (subjunctive) to subjectively possible (op- 
tative) to volitionally possible (imperative), or from probability (sub- 
junctive) to possibility (optative) to intention (imperative), or from 
mild contingency (subjunctive) to strong contingency (optative). Thus, 
the third-class condition becomes the "More Probable Future Condi- 
tion" in contrast with the fourth which they call the "Less Probable 
Future Condition." 31 

Are these measurements of potentiality or degrees of probability 
valid? Can we say of a third-class condition, "There is doubt, of 
course, but it probably will be realized"? One of the primary purposes 
of this study was to investigate this question. It is the judgment of the 
present writer that this scheme, while it may be theoretically logical, 
is completely unsupported and in fact totally discredited by actual 
usage in the NT. 

In conducting the study, an attempt was made to assign to each 
of these examples a "measure word" indicating from the context the 
degree of probability or improbability involved in the realization of 
the condition. Out of this grew a list of words, arranged here 
somewhat in a "logical" order, with the number of instances and a 
few representative examples. 



Fulfillment certain 


19 32 


Fulfillment probable 


63 33 


Fulfillment doubtful 


20 34 


Fulfillment improbable 


16 35 


Fulfillment possible 


4 36 


Fulfillment conceivable 


30 37 



H. E. Dana and J. R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament 
(New York: MacMillan, 1948) 165-67. 

31 Ibid., 290. 

32 In addition to the illustrations given in the discussion following, see: Mark 4:22; 
10:30; John 5:31; 8:14, 16; Rom 2:25; 1 Cor 6:4; 10:8; Col 4:10; 1 John 2:29. 

"Examples: Matt 5:46; 21:3; 24:23; Mark 12:19; Luke 17:3 (contrast v. 4); John 
8:36; 9:31; 12:24; 14:23; 1 Cor 8:10; Col 3:13; 1 John 2:1; 5:14. 

'"Examples: Matt 21:24; Mark 8:3; Luke 17:4 (cf. v 3); 22:67. 

"Examples: Luke 16:31; John 7:51; 1 1:48; Acts 26:5; I Cor 13:1-3; 14:7,8. 

"Examples: Matt 24:48-51; 28:14; I Cor 14:28; 2 Cor 9:4. 

"Examples: Matt 21:21, 25, 26; Mark 3:24, 25; 14:31; Luke 16:30; John 21:22; 
Rom 2:26; 1 Cor 4:15; 12:15; Gal 1:18. 



boyer: third class conditions 169 

Certain not to be fulfilled 7 38 

No indication of probability 120 39 

Several observations result from this study. 

First, the first category above represents third class conditions 
which are used of future events which are absolutely certain of 
fulfillment, such as the lifting up of Christ on the cross (John 12:32), 
his return to heaven (John 14:3; 16:7), his second coming (1 John 
2:28; 3:2), the multiplication of Israel as the sand of the sea (Rom 
9:27), Paul's preaching the gospel (1 Cor 9:16), the perishing of our 
earthly house (2 Cor 5:1). The potentiality of such things is simple 
futurity; it has not happened yet. To use the word "probable" with 
such would be completely misleading. We could never understand 
Christ to say, "I probably will come again," and the third-class 
condition used does not in fact mean that. 

Second, the seventh category above represents third-class condi- 
tions which are certain not to be fulfilled. Some are set in pairs as 
opposites to others in the "certain" category (John 16:7; 1 Cor 9:16). 
They include such totally impossible items as Christ not seeing what 
the Father does (John 5:19) or his saying he does not know the 
Father (John 8:55), or the apostasy not coming first (2 Thess 2:3), or 
man's keeping the law (Rom 2:25), or the sailors not remaining in the 
ship with resulting loss of life (Acts 27:31) after Paul has already 
assured them that God had promised all would be safe. Again, the 
element of contingency here is simple futurity, and the remarks in the 
preceeding paragraph are applicable here. 

Third, the vast bulk of examples in the middle of the spectrum 
obviously fit the characterization of third-class conditions as doubtful, 
contingent, or potential, but they do not support the concept that 
degree of potentiality is involved. They range from probable to 
doubtful to improbable. They include what possibly might occur and 
what the mind can conceive as possible. It should be noted that all 
these "degree of probability" terms are derived from the context; they 
all are simple etiv + subjunctive conditions. 

Fourth, the very large number of instances labeled as "No 
indication" (120 out of 277, or 42%) underscore the same conclusion. 
They are passages where even the context cannot tell the degree of 
probability. Often, opposite contingencies are listed, each using the 



38 A11 of the examples so classified have been listed in the discussion following. 

39 ln addition to the examples given in the discussion, see: Matt 4:9; 18:13; 22:24; 
Luke 13:3, 5; John 6:44, 51; 7:17; 15:7; Rom 7:2-3; 13:4; 1 Cor 4:19; Heb 3:7; James 
5:15; Rev 2:5. 



170 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

same conditional form; you may forgive, or not forgive (Matt 6:14, 
15), your eye may be single or evil (Matt 6:22, 23), the house you 
enter may be worthy or not worthy (Matt 10:13), your brother may 
hear you when you rebuke him, or he may not, or he may refuse to 
hear when you take another along, or he may refuse to hear the 
church (Matt 18:15-17), a man may walk in the day or in the night 
(John 1 1:9, 10), we may live or die, in either case we do so "unto the 
Lord" (Rom 14:8). More frequently they are single contingencies; a 
man may or may not "want to do His will" (John 7:17), it may be the 
Lord's will or it may not (1 Cor 4:19; James 4:15; Heb 6:3), a virgin 
may marry or not (1 Cor 7:28), a man or a woman may have long 
hair or not (1 Cor 11:14, 5), the Thessalonians may, or may not, 
stand fast in the Lord (1 Thess 3:8). Clearly, degree of probability or 
potentiality is not in the third-class construction. If it is present at all 
it is in the context. 

Comparison with Fourth-Class Conditions 

Such terms expressing comparison have their origin in the clas- 
sical grammarians and refer to a comparison between two classes of 
future condition, those using etiv + subjunctive and those using ei + 
optative. W. W. Goodwin distinguished these as "Future More Vivid" 
and "Future Less Vivid." 40 By vividness he did not mean more or less 
probable, but a greater or lesser distinctness and definiteness of 
concept. B. L. Gildersleeve, followed by Robertson and a host of NT 
grammarians, made mode rather than time the decisive factor in 
classification of conditional sentence and gave us the familiar "four 
class" terminology. Within this group, apparently, the more probable — 
less probable concept has grown. 

It is usually not clearly recognized that this comparison, whatever 
its nature, referred to classical grammar, not to NT grammar. With 
no attempt to evaluate the propriety of this analysis for classical 
Greek, it should be noted that such can have no application to NT 
Greek, for the obvious reason that the NT has no fourth-class 
conditions. 41 As Robertson himself says, "It is an ornament of the 



40 W. W. Goodwin, Greek Grammar, rev. by C. B. Gulick (Boston: Ginn, 1930) 
298. 

4I The correctness of this statement needs to be supported. There are 10 instances 
where ei appears with an optative verb, thus possibly a fourth class protasis. Of these, 
one is not conditional at all: ei is introducing an indirect question, "whether" (Acts 
25:20; perhaps also 17:27). Five appear to be stereotyped, almost parenthetical expres- 
sions, the kind which might survive after the construction has become archaic (ei 
tuxoi, 1 Cor 14:10; 15:37; ei 5uvcuvto, Acts 27:12, 39; ei Suvatov ei'u, Acts 20:16). The 
three remaining seem clearly to be fourth-class protases; one with an apodosis which is 



boyer: third class conditions 1 7 1 

cultured class and was little used by the masses save in a few set 
phrases. It is not strange, therefore, that no complete example of this 
fourth-class condition appears in the LXX, the NT or the papyri so 
far as examined. ... No example of the opt. in both condition and 
conclusion in the current koivt). In the modern Greek it has 
disappeared completely." 42 Now, if all future conditions in the NT are 
third class, that is, all are more probable, there is no longer any 
meaning to "more." "More probable" must be understood to mean 
"more probable than if he had used the optative," not "more likely 
than not." It seems much better to follow the suggestion of Duncan 
Gibbs, "that the edv with the subjunctive has become merely a 
formula for presenting a future condition. Any suggestion of expecta- 
tion of fulfillment which might have existed at one time (if ever it did) 
has now vanished. The condition is simply a large basket made to 
hold any future condition, likely or unlikely, possible or absurd." 43 

Comparison with ei + Future Indicative 

When we call this third class the Future Condition we do not 
mean that all conditions future in time belong to this class. In my 
previous study I discovered 14 examples of ei + future indicative in 
the protasis. These first-class conditions of course are also future in 
time reference. How do they relate to the third-class future conditions? 
The discussions of the grammarians reflect their own understanding 
of the basic significance of the two classes. Goodwin says, "The future 
indicative with ei is very often used in future conditions implying 
strong likelihood of fulfillment, especially in appeals to the feelings 
and in threats and warnings." 44 Smyth calls it the "Emotional Future 
Condition. . . . When the condition expresses a strong feeling, the 
future indicative with ei is generally used instead of edv with the 
subjunctive. Such . . . commonly contain a warning or a threat or in 
general something undesirable." 45 Zerwick, who characterizes the first 
class as "the concrete case," says "ei with future (instead of edv with 



in indirect discourse (Acts 24:19); the other two (1 Pet 3:14, 17) have apodoses in which 
the verb is left unexpressed. There is thus no complete example of the fourth-class 
condition. 

It should be noted that the only optatives which are involved here are those with ei 
forming a protasis. Optatives occurring in so-called "implied apodoses" (without a 
protasis) are simple instances of the potential optative and are not conditional, except 
perhaps by implication. 

42 Robertson, Grammar, 1020-21. 

43 Duncan G. Gibbs, "The Third Class Condition in New Testament Usage" (Th. 
M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1979) 51. 
Goodwin, Grammar, 298. 

45 H. W. Smyth, A Greek Grammar (New York: American Book Co., 1916) 346. 



172 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the subjunctive) is of course perfectly correct and classical, so long as 
the condition is to be represented as a concrete one." 46 Turner says, 
"This sometimes conveys the same idea but occurs very seldom in 
Ptol. pap. The feeling of definiteness and actual realization accom- 
panies it. It is almost causal." 47 But after citing several examples he 
admits, "The difficulty about this view is 2 Tim 2:12 where the 
condition was surely conceived as no more than hypothetical." 
Robertson surprisingly says, "The kinship in origin and sense of the 
aorist subj. and fut. ind. makes the line a rather fine one between ei 
and the fut. ind. and etiv and the subj." 48 If we understand the first 
class as being simple logical connection, as I have attempted to 
demonstrate earlier, 49 then ei with a future indicative indicates a 
simple logical connection in future time. If we accept the understand- 
ing of the third-class being presented in this paper, then edv with a 
subjunctive calls attention to some element of future contingency 
involved. The form used will depend on the purpose of the speaker or 
writer. 

Summary 

What term can be used to express the essential meaning of the 
third class condition? Such terms as "probable," "likely," "expectancy," 
"anticipatory" are all misleading and not suitable. "Potential" or 
"contingent" are neutral terms which express well the meaning if 
properly understood. Zerwick, in the English translation, uses the 
term "eventual," apparently to refer to that which may eventualize or 
come to pass. The English dictionary gives that as a legitimate 
meaning for "eventual," but probably it is not normally understood in 
that sense by English readers. We come back to the term "Future 
Condition," which in my judgment is to be preferred. 

GENERAL VERSUS PARTICULAR 

It has been broadly recognized that within this edv + subjunctive 
types of conditional statements. One 



M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek, trans, by Joseph Smith (Rome: Pontifical Biblical 
Institute, 1963) 111. 

47 N. Turner, Syntax, 115. 

48 Robertson, Grammar, 1017. 

49 In the first article of this series, GTJ 2 (1981). 

50 One needs to take care not to overestimate this distinctness. 

While semantically it is easy to see the distinction, yet in actual usage it often is 
not so obvious. The present writer has attempted to classify these third-class conditions 
in the NT between present-general and future-particular, on two occasions widely 
separated in time. The results were greatly divergent. And when these were compared 






boyer: third class conditions 173 

group expresses general or universal suppositions which, whenever 
they are fulfilled, bring the stated results. "If a kingdom is divided 
against itself it cannot stand" (Mark 3:24); "The law does not 
condemn if it does not first hear . . . and know. . . ." (John 7:51); "If 
anyone walks in the night he stumbles" (John 11:10). The other group 
speaks of particular, specific, future suppositions, such as, "Lord, if 
you will you can heal me" (Matt 8:2); "If someone should come to 
them from the dead, they will repent" (Luke 16:30); "If I send them 
away fasting they will faint in the way" (Mark 8:3). All these 
examples share in common the £dv + subjunctive form. 

If it seems strange to us that such distinct types should be thrown 
together in one grammatical form it should alert us to the probability 
that we are not looking at it as the Greek writer did. Apparently he 
did not see these as diverse types; there must be some common 
characteristic which in his mind linked them in the same manner of 
expression. His choice to use the subjunctive points to the common 
element. They are both undetermined, contingent suppositions, future 
in time reference. Whether that potentiality was seen as some par- 
ticular occurrence or one which would produce the result whenever it 
occurred was not the primary thought in the mind of the speaker. He 
used a form which in either case expressed the future eventuality. 

Some grammarians do attempt to distinguish two separate classes. 
W. W. Goodwin notes that "the character of the apodosis distinguishes 
these future conditions from the present general supposition" and 
claims that the present general class uses a present indicative or its 
equivalent in the apodosis, while the future particular class has some 
future form. 51 Machen calls the edv + subjunctive class "future 
conditions," but in a footnote he calls attention to the fact that this 
term takes no account of the large group of present general conditions 
which share the structural form. 52 Zerwick also distinguishes two 
classes, the "eventual" and the "universal," warning, however, that 
"the distinction between type C (eventual) and E (universal), though 
certain grammarians make it, is not a linguistic or grammatical one, 
but a purely extrinsic one based on subject matter (and an analysis 
according to the speech-habits of some other language than Greek)." 53 



with the conclusions of another scholar an even wider difference was seen. It is not easy 
to decide whether "If anyone wants to do His will he shall know . . ."(John 7:17) or "If 
you love me you will keep my commandments" (John 14:17) is expressing a general 
truth always true, or is to be thought of as looking to some particular future situation. 
The distinction is highly subjective, as well as totally without indication in the language 
itself. 

5l Goodwin, Grammar, 298. 

"Machen, Greek for Beginners, 132 n. I. 

"Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 111. 



174 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The term "present general" commonly used for the universal condition 
is an unfortunate one, based probably on the claim by Goodwin 
quoted above that the apodosis is a present indicative or its equivalent. 
Elsewhere he speaks of this as a "quasi-present." 54 Zerwick uses still 
another limiting designation of this present, "a general (universal) 
condition in the (atemporal) present, referring to any case of the kind 
expressed." 55 

Thus Goodwin affirms and Zerwick denies that the form of the 
apodosis indicates the distinction between the general and the par- 
ticular sub-classification of this third-class. Again, without presuming 
to evaluate the propriety of this as it applies to classical Greek, I have 
in this study attempted to check its validity for the NT. The present 
indicative occurs about 135 times in the apodoses of this class in the 
NT, 81 times (61%) in those which I have classified as general, 52 
times (38%) in those classified as particular. The future indicative 
occurs 118 times, 18% in general examples, 82% in particular 
examples. While these may conform in a majority of cases with the 
proposed rule, yet 4 out of 10 or even 1 out of 5 is a high percent of 
error. 

But the problem is even greater. The rule as stated spoke of 
"present indicative or its equivalent," and on the other hand "any 
future form." When we ask more specifically for the time-reference of 
the apodosis instead of the tense form, a very interesting factor 
appears: in almost every instance the time-reference is discovered to 
be future. 

Let me illustrate and explain this conclusion. The apodosis uses 
the imperative mood 45 times (27 present, 15 aorist, 1 aorist sub- 
junctive with \xx\ as a prohibition). Also, in another example the 
apodosis is expressed by two participles which depend on an 
imperative verb and in another by an infinitive of indirect discourse 
representing an imperative in the direct. The imperative time-reference 
is clearly future. On 12 occasions ou ur| + aorist subjunctive, a strong 
future denial, forms the apodosis. On 10 other times the aorist 
subjunctive is used when the apodosis is a purpose clause with i'va, 
etc. Once, the apodosis has Ttcbc, with the deliberative subjunctive. 
Again, these are all future in time reference. 

Next, examining the 81 examples of the present indicative in the 
apodoses of general suppositions, it is probable that even these 
represent future time. 20 of these seem to be gnomic or atemporal, 
which includes future time. But specifically in the apodosis of a 



W. W. Goodwin, "On the Classification of Conditional Sentences in Greek 
Syntax," Transactions of the American Philological Association 4 (1873) 66. 
"Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 111. 



boyer: third class conditions 175 

contingent condition this present must be logically future to the 
fulfillment of the protasis. Two examples of these presents are 
"futuristic" ("I am coming," John 14:3; note that it is accompanied by 
a future tense verb in the same apodosis). Another 21 instances 
involve verbs which involve potential action looking forward to the 
future: "I am able to . . ." etc. Some 26 express what 1 choose to label 
"resulting action," what will happen or result when the protasis is 
realized: "even if someone strives he is not crowned if he does not 
strive lawfully" (2 Tim 2:5); "If we love one another God abides in us 
(1 John 4:12); "If we ask anything ... he hears us"(l John 5:14). The 
remaining 55 present indicatives in apodoses express what I have 
called "discovered state," identifying the condition which will be 
discovered to be true when the condition is met: "If you abide in me 
you are truly my disciple" (John 8:31); "If I do not wash you, you do 
not have a part with me" (John 13:8); "If you release this man you are 
not a friend of Caesar" (John 19:12); "Circumcision is profitable if 
you keep the law" (Rom 2:25); "Woe is me if I preach not the gospel" 
(1 Cor 9:16); "If we walk in the light ... we have fellowship ..." 
(1 John 1:7). 

The only apodosis verbs left to be considered are 7 aorist 
indicatives. These I would consider to be expressive of "discovered 
resulting action": "If he hears you, you have gained your brother 
(Matt 18:15); "If anyone does not abide in me, he has been cast out 
and has withered . . ." (John 15:6); "If you marry you have not 
sinned" (1 Cor 7:28, twice); "If a man enter your assembly and 
you . . . , have you not discriminated and become judges . . . ?" (James 
2:2-4). 

It is not expected that everyone will agree with all of these 
explanations, but certainly it is clear that there is no discernible 
distinction in form in the NT Greek which will identify the two types 
of conditional statements within the third class. In fact, there is some 
future time-reference in all of the examples, even those which are 
often called present-general. The general-particular may be a valid 
distinction, but it depends on subject-matter and the interpretive 
exegesis of the commentator, not on the Greek text of the NT. 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 177-92 



BIBLICAL TEACHING ON DIVORCE 
AND REMARRIAGE 

Charles C. Ryrie 



This survey of the biblical teaching on divorce and remarriage 
gives special attention to the meaning of the exception clause in 
Matthew and preference to the view that it refers to unlawful unions 
and therefore does not justify divorce for sexual immorality. Since 
only death, not divorce, breaks the one-flesh relationship, remarriage 
is permitted only after the death of a mate. Reconciliation is always 
the goal for those in a troubled marriage. 



Divorce and remarriage are biblical doctrines, and like other 
doctrines must be formulated on the basis of sound exegesis and 
biblical theology. Sound exegesis furnishes the raw material, the data; 
biblical theology correlates the results of exegesis in relation to the 
progress of revelation. The result provides authoritative instruction 
for this crucial area of life today. Undebatable authoritative truth 
comes from revelation. Our experience cannot create it; it should 
conform to it; certainly it must never compromise it. 

I. THE TEACHING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 

A. The Institution of Marriage (Gen 1:26-27; 2:18-25) 
1. The Purpose of Marriage 

Marriage was instituted in the context of creation, making it an 
ordinance that applies to all regardless of the presence or absence of 
faith. God's proposes in giving marriage to all mankind were (1) to 
supply the lack a man or woman has alone; (2) to encourage a 
faithful, monogamous relation for the fabric of society; and (3) to 
establish the one flesh relationship. 

The first relates to the word "helper" in Gen 2:18. It simply 
means that each alone lacks what the mate can supply so that 
together they make a complete whole. 



178 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The second finds its basis in that God made only one wife for 
Adam and said that he should "cleave" to that wife (Gen 2:24). 
Cleaving carries with it the idea 

... of clinging to someone in affection and loyalty. Man is to cleave to 
his wife (Gen 2:24). Ruth clave to Naomi (Ruth 1:14). The men of 
Judah clave to David their king during Sheba's rebellion (II Sam 20:2). 
Shechem loved Dinah and clave to her (Gen 34:3) and Solomon clave 
in love to his wives (1 Kgs 1 1:2). 

Most importantly, the Israelites are to cleave to the Lord in 
affection and loyalty (Deut 10:20; 11:22; 13:4 [H 5]; 30:20; Josh 22:5; 
23:8) if his blessing is to be theirs. ... In these verses parallel words 
and phrases that describe this proper attitude to the Lord are: fear, 
serve, love, obey, swear by his name, walk in his ways, and keep his 
commandments. 1 

The third, to provide the closest relationship, is the meaning of 
"one flesh." It not only involves physical union but also a unity of 
spiritual, moral, and intellectual facets of the husband and wife. 
Furthermore, "this union is of a totally different nature from that of 
parents and children; hence marriage between parents and children is 
entirely opposed to the ordinance of God." 2 Consequently, in the 
Mosaic legislation sexual relations, whether within or outside the 
marriage relationship, with close relatives were forbidden (Lev 18:6— 
18; cf. Deut 22:30; 27:20, 22-23). 3 These prohibitions were related not 
only to literal blood lines but also to "blood" relationships created 
through marriage (e.g., a brother's or uncle's wife). Marriage not only 
creates vertical blood relationships in the form of children, but also 
horizontal "blood" relationships between the couple themselves. 4 In 
short, "one flesh" is analogous to kinship. 5 

If these are God's purposes in marriage, then obviously they are 
thwarted by unfaithfulness, polygamy, and incestuous relationships. 

2. The Elements of Marriage 

Biblical marriage involves three elements. First, the consent of 
the partners and of the parents (Gen 21:21; 34:4-6; Judg 14:2-3; Josh 

'Earl S. Kalland, s.v. "dabaq" Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 
(Chicago: Moody, 1980) 1. 178; cf. Abel Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry in the New 
Testament: A Study With Special Reference to Ml. 19:13 [sic] -12 and 1. Cor. 11.3-16 
(Lund: Gleerup, 1965) 19. 

2 Keil and Delitzsch, The Pentateuch (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, n.d.) 1.91. 

3 See also R. K. Harrison, Leviticus (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries; 
Grove, 111.: Inter- Varsity, 1980) 186. 

4 Cf. G. J. Wenham, The Book of Leviticus (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1979) 253-54. 

5 Cf. Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry, 20-21; Harrison, Leviticus, 186. 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 179 

15:16; Eph 6:1-3; 1 Cor 7:37-38). Second, the public avowal which 
could include a marriage contract as well as legal and social customs 
(Gen 29:25; 34:12). Third, the physical consummation of the union 
which normally follows. That intercourse alone did not constitute a 
marriage is evident from the distinction throughout the Old Testament 
between a person's wife or wives and his concubines (Gen 22:24; Judg 
8:30-31; 2 Sam 3:7; 5:13; 1 Kgs 11:3) and the sequence of events 
involved in Deut 22:28-29 (cf. Exod 22:16-17). The legal/ contractual 
aspect was important and made the period of betrothal binding. 

3. The Indissolubility of Marriage 

As marriage was originally planned there was no provision for 
ending it except by death. This concept was behind the Lord's answer 
to the Pharisees in Matt 19:4-6 where he appeals to Gen 2:24 as the 
basis of his teaching that marriage is indissoluble. 

B. Divorce and Remarriage in the Mosaic Law 
1. Divorce 

The Mosaic Law nowhere provided for divorce, though people 
who lived during that period practiced it. The importance of this 
point cannot be overstressed, especially in light of statements by 
evangelicals who, after discussing Deut 24:1-3, note that "God per- 
mitted divorce within stringently defined limits." 6 In fact the passage 
only recognizes that divorce was being practiced, but it never pre- 
scribes it. 7 

Another passage, Deut 22:13-29, describes two circumstances 
where divorce is proscribed. One was the case where the husband 
"turned against" his wife and sought to justify a divorce by accusing 
her of premarital unchastity. Assuming that the charge was false, the 
verdict was clear: "And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce 
her all his days" (v 19; NASB is cited, unless indicated otherwise). 
Does this not say something important to the reason for divorce 
sometimes offered today, namely, that when love dies, the marriage 
dies and divorce is recommended? 

The other circumstance involved intercourse with an unbetrothed 
virgin. In this instance the man was required to marry the girl and 
never to divorce her (v 29). 

The betrothed couple were legally considered as husband and 
wife in most respects. 



6 Jay Adams, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible (Phillipsburg, N. J. 
Presbyterian and Reformed, 1980) 30. 

7 Cf. Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry, 21, 25. 



180 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

At the betrothal, the bridegroom, personally or by deputy, handed to 
the bride a piece of money or a letter, it being expressly stated in each 
case that the man thereby espoused the woman. From the moment of 
betrothal both parties were regarded, and treated by law (as to 
inheritance, adultery, need of formal divorce), as if they had been 
actually married, except as regarded their living together." 8 

The story of Hosea and passages like Jer 3:1-8 are used by some 
to conclude that God Himself is a divorcee (having divorced Israel as 
Hosea did Gomer) and therefore divorce is sometimes justified. 9 

However, it is far from clear exegetically that Hosea divorced 
Gomer, so at best this would be a very insecure foundation on which 
to build a case for legitimate divorce. Dwight Small, who praised 
Adam's book, has listed ten reasons why it is not possible to conclude 
that Hosea divorced Gomer. 10 Furthermore, it is even less tenable to 
conclude from the story of Hosea that God divorced Israel. The 
question of Isa 50:1 is either a rhetorical one presupposing a negative 
reply or it should be understood as an allegory like Jer 3:8. If these 
illustrations are pressed to make God a divorcee, then perhaps he was 
also a polygamist, since he married both Israel and Judah. Nor 
should such poetical and metaphorical language be pressed into the 
service of determining the exact meaning of nopveia in legal passages 
in Matthew's gospel. 11 

The point is simply that the story of Hosea and its illustration of 
God's relation to Israel furnishes no secure basis for concluding that 
there are sometimes legitimate divorces. 

2. Remarriage 

Deut 24:1-4 has been used by evangelical Protestants to de- 
monstrate that "the divorce permitted or tolerated under the Mosaic 
economy had the effect of dissolving the marriage bond," therefore, 
with reference to our Lord's teaching in Matt 5:32 and 19:9 "we 
should not expect that remarriage would be regarded as adultery." 12 
In reality this is a misuse of the passage. 

"Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1943) 1. 354; cf. Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, Vol. I: Social Institutions 
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965) 36. 

9 Adams, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, 56, 71-75. 

l0 "The Prophet Hosea: God's Alternative to Divorce for the Reason of Infidelity," 
Journal of Psychology and Theology 1 (1979) 133-40. See also Francis I. Anderson 
and David Noel Freedman {Hosea: A New Translation with Introduction and Com- 
mentary [AB; Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1980] 124, 220-24) who defend the 
same conclusion. 

"See Tim Crater, "Bill Gothard's View of the Exception Clause," Journal of 
Pastoral Practice 4:3 [1980] 5-12. 

12 John Murray, Divorce (Philadelphia: Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1953) 41- 
42; cf. Guy Duty, Divorce and Remarriage (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1967) 32-44. 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 181 

First, notice that 

. . . the legislation relates only to particular cases of remarriage; the 
protasis contains incidental information about marriage and divorce, 
but does not legislate on those matters. The verses do not institute 
divorce, but treat it as a practice already known, . . .' 3 

The passage acknowledges the existence of the practice of divorce; it 
regards the second marriage of the divorced wife as legal; and it 
forbids the reinstitution of the first marriage even after the death or 
divorce of the second husband. In particular, it forbids the remarriage 
of the first husband on the ground that the one flesh bond with that 
first husband still exists, even though divorce has been effected. Thus 
the passage teaches exactly the opposite from what Murray claimed. 
The first marriage is not "dissolved"; otherwise, there would be no 
basis for prohibiting that remarriage. 14 

The indecency which caused the first husband to divorce his wife 
has been variously explained. It was net premarital unchastity, since 
the law specifically dealt with such cases (Deut 22:28-29). Likely it 
was something short of adultery. Isaksson suggests that it meant the 
voluntary or involuntary exposure of the wife's pudendum, which 
would arouse his loathing. 15 If the husband chose to divorce his wife, 
he had to forfeit the dowry and may also have had to pay her a kind 
of alimony. 

Scholars are not agreed on the basis for the prohibition of 
remarrying the first wife. The suggestion that the entire law was to 
deter hasty divorces is unlikely. Financial considerations would 
probably do that. Others suggest that to reconstitute the first marriage 
would be a type of incest, on the basis of Gen 2:24 and Lev 18:6-18, 
because the one flesh relationship was never dissolved. 16 One thing is 
certain: Deut 24:1-4 does not teach a dissolution divorce that breaks 
the marriage bond as Murray and others have taught and then 
applied to the teaching of the NT in order to validate remarriage. In 
fact, the prohibition in v 4 is based on the enduring nature of the one 
flesh bond of the original marriage. Therefore, a woman cannot 
return to the first husband even if her second husband dies. 

3. Intermarriage (Ezra 9-10; Neh 13:23-31; Mai 2:10-16) 

The OT forbade intermarriage with pagan peoples on religious 
grounds so that Israel's covenant relation with Yahweh might remain 

l3 Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1976) 304-5. 

M See G. J. Wenham, "The Restoration of Marriage Reconsidered [Deut 24:1-4]," 
JJS 30 (1979) 36-40 and Third Way 1:21 [November 3, 1977] 7-9. 

15 Marriage and Ministry, 26. 

16 Cf. Wenham, "The Restoration of Marriage." 



182 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

inviolate. Though only marriages with Canaanite women were expli- 
citely forbidden (Deut 7:1-3), and although some like Joseph, Moses, 
Mahlon and Chilion did marry foreign wives, the prohibition included 
other non-Israelitish nations, to prevent idolatry (cf. 1 Kgs 16:31-34). 
As a scribe Ezra not only knew of this prohibition but also of the 
existence of a divorce procedure which he used for these cases of 
intermarriage. He apparently looked on them as unreal marriages 
which ought to be nullified, and thought that the consequences of 
such actions were to be borne by the husbands and fathers who con- 
tracted the illicit relationships. As long ago as 1890 George Rawlinson 
observed: "Strictly speaking, he probably looked upon them as unreal 
marriages, and so as no better than ordinary illicit connections." 17 
More recently Wenham wrote: 

In Ezra's eyes this was not a question of breaking up legitimate 
marriages but of nullifying those which were contrary to the law. It was 
forbidden for them to marry the people of the land (Deuteronomy 7.3) 
and the most serious cases of unlawful unions could be punished by 
death of both parties, just like adulterers (Leviticus 20). 18 

But Ezra only demanded divorce, not death (cf. Num 25:6-15). 

In order to marry foreign wives, some Israelites had divorced 
their Jewish wives, a sin Malachi severely denounced. "God hates 
divorce," he declared, and no exception was made for so-called 
legitimate divorces. 19 We do well to be reminded of what Malachi 
said divorce did, namely: (1) it broke fellowship, so that the Lord did 
not accept the offerings (Mai 2:13); (2) it broke the marriage covenant 
(v 14); (3) it violated God's original intention for marriage (v 15); (4) 
it incurred God's hatred (v 16). 

In summary, the OT teaches that marriage should be (1) purpose- 
ful, (2) pure (free from incest and heathen entanglements), and (3) 
permanent. Divorce was practiced but not prescribed. It was pro- 
scribed in certain instances, as was the remarriage of a previously 
divorced partner. And God declared his hatred of divorce. 

II. THE TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 

Most agree that the NT permits divorce only in two instances: 
nopveia (Matt 5:32; 19:9) and desertion by the unbelieving partner in 
a spiritually mixed marriage, the mixture having occurred after the 
marriage (1 Cor 7:15). These passages contain difficult problems, 

17 Ezra and Nehemiah: Their Lives and Times (New York: Randolf) 42. 
18 Third Way 1:21 (1977)9. 

''Despite Jay Adams's attempt to play down the absolute nature of this prohibi- 
tion {Marriage, Divorce. and Remarriage, 23). 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 183 

chiefly the meaning of rtopveia and the question of whether or not 
remarriage is permitted in either instance. 

A. The Teaching of Christ 

1 . The Summary of His Teaching 

When the apostle Paul summarized the Lord's teaching concern- 
ing divorce, he did not include any exception to the total prohibition 
of divorce by Christ (1 Cor 7:1 1). This seems to say that Christ taught 
the indissolubility of marriage and that whatever he meant by Ttopveia 
was an uncommon meaning. Otherwise, Paul might have been 
expected to include a commonly understood exception to divorce in 
his summary. 

Furthermore, no exception appears in Mark's (10:11-12) and 
Luke's (16:18) accounts of our Lord's teaching. Some have attempted 
to harmonize these accounts with Matthew's inclusion of an exception 
by saying that Mark and Luke state the general rule while Matthew 
added the exception (usually understood as sexual immorality). 

However, the disciples' reaction to the Lord's teaching when the 
exception was included (Matt 19:10) was not the kind one would 
expect if they understood the exception to mean immorality in 
general, for they were greatly startled by his teaching. They evidently 
thought he was teaching the indissolubility of marriage so clearly that 
they suggested it might be wiser not to marry at all. In reply the Lord 
did not recommend celibacy as the better course of action, but the 
very fact that the disciples rejected (v 10) this conception of life and 
marriage shows that they understood his teaching to be different from 
what they knew in Judaism. And the Lord did not suggest that they 
had exaggerated or misunderstood his teaching. 

Everything points to the exception being something uncommon, 
certainly nothing as common as adultery or immorality in general. 

2. The Background 

The Hillel-Shammai debate was certainly in the minds of the 
Pharisees when they asked the Lord if a Jew could divorce his wife 
for any cause (Matt 19:3). The school of Hillel interpreted the words 
~iDT"ni"iy in Deut 24:1 more leniently by disjoining the words and 
making them read "uncleanness, or anything else." Naturally this 
interpretation, like the evangelical Protestant view today, enjoyed 
more popularity than that advanced by the more strict school of 
Shammai, which allowed divorce only for some immodesty, shame- 
lessness, lewdness, or adultery. By asking the Lord to take sides on 
this question, the Pharisees hoped to lessen his popularity with the 
people, whichever side he took. 



184 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

However, the Lord's response did not deal with the particulars of 
Deuteronomy 24 at all, but rather with God's original intention for 
marriage and with an action which would result in one or the other 
party being involved in committing adultery. The Pharisees were 
preoccupied with establishing grounds for divorce (and doing the 
same today is similar to Pharisaism); our Lord was concerned about 
the indissolubility of marriage. 

3. The Interpretations of the Exception Clause 

a. The Patristic View. This view states that when one party 
was guilty of rcopveia, usually understood to mean adultery, the other 
party was expected to separate but did not have the right to remarry. 
This was the view of all the Greek and Latin fathers, save one, in the 
first five centuries of the Church. 20 It has recently been defended by 
Protestant scholar G. J. Wenham. 21 In this he follows the three 
Catholic scholars, Henri Crouzel, Jacques Dupont 22 and Quentin 
Quesnell. 23 

This view understands marriage to unite both parties until the 
death of one. The fathers also denied the right to remarry to the 
Christian deserted by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:15-16). Ambro- 
siaster, who wrote between a.d. 366 and 383, was the only exception; 
he allowed remarriage to the "innocent" husband only and to the 
deserted believer. Today the Catholic view allows remarriage of the 
deserted believer. 24 

Quesnell, who is followed by most recent writers, 25 understands 
the eunuch-saying in v 12 to refer in context to the state of those 
named in v 9: those who, having put away their wives for Tropveia, 
would not be able to marry another without committing adultery. 
They have entered a state of "enforced celibacy" until the partner is 
reconciled. 

20 Henri Crouzel, L'Eglise primitive face au divorce (Paris: Beauchesne, 1971) and 
"Remarriage After Divorce in the Primitive Church: A Propos of a Recent Book," 
Irish Theological Quarterly 38 [1971] 21-41. 

21 Third Way 1:22 [November 17, 1977] 7-9; 1:25 [December 29, 1977] 17-18: 2:11 
[June 1, 1978] 13-15; and "May Divorced Christians Remarry?" Churchman 95:2 
[1981] 150-61. 

22 Mariage et Divorce dans Vevangile. Matthieu 19, 3-12 et paralleles (Bruges: 
Desclee de Brouwer, 1959). 

23 "'Made Themselves Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven' (Mt 19.12)," CBQ 30 
[1968] 335-58. 

24 Though for a Catholic who does not see that privilege in 1 Cor 7:15, see Pierre 
Dulau, "The Pauline Privilege," CBQ 13 [1951] 146-52; also R. L. Roberts, "The 
Meaning of Chorizo and Douloo in 1 Corinthians 7:10-17," Restoration Quarterly 8 
[1965] 179-84. 

25 Cf. Wenham, "May Divorced Christians?" 161 n. 16, and G. Bromiley, God and 
Marriage (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 40-41. 



RYRIE: DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE 185 

Very important in this view is that the exception clause qualifies 
only the verb anoXvu) and not also the verb yauea) in the protasis of 
the general condition in Matt 19:9. Thus, although divorce was 
permitted for a sexual sin, remarriage was not. 26 The fathers clearly 
understood that when the two events of the protasis occured, namely, 
divorce followed by remarriage, then the consequences mentioned in 
the apodosis resulted, namely, the committing of adultery. This was 
also Augustine's understanding. 27 

While this writer does not agree with making Ttopveia equal to 
adultery or any sexual sin, he does agree that the texts do not allow 
remarriage without committing adultery. This is very important to 
the current debate, for the construction of the Matthean texts applies 
the exception, whatever it means, only to divorce, and not to 
remarriage. Had the exception clause come after "marries another" it 
would have sanctioned remarriage, but it does not. Therefore, it is an 
assumption read into the texts to conclude that if there is legitimate 
ground for divorce then there is automatically permission for legiti- 
mate remarriage. Actually, the texts say that such remarriage involves 
adultery. 

b. The Evangelical Protestant View. This view has two varia- 
tions within it. Some, like Murray, understand rcopveia to be 
equivalent to poi^eta. 28 Others give it a wider sense to cover a broad 
range of sexual sins. James B. Hurley understands it to mean illicit 
sexual relations which would have called for the death sentence in the 
OT: adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality. 29 Richard DeHaan 
includes premarital sex, incest, adultery, rabbinically unapproved 
marriage, homosexuality. 30 John MacArthur concludes that "fornica- 
tion is the broad word for any kind of unlawful, shameful sexual 
activity." 31 All variations see the exception clause as qualifying both 
verbs (put away and [re]marry), thus permitting both divorce and 
remarriage in the case of rcopveia. Of course, divorce is not required, 
but it is permitted and so is remarriage. By this interpretation of 
Tropveia almost anyone could justify a divorce, especially if adultery 
is further defined as the Lord does in Matt 5:28. 



26 Cf. Bromiley, God and Marriage, 45. 

""Adulterous Marriages," trans, by C. T. Huegelmeyer, in Treatises on Marriage 
and Other Subjects, The Fathers of the Church, vol. 27 (New York: Fathers of the 
Church, 1955) 75-76. 

28 Divorce, 21. 

M Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 
1981) 103-4. 

30 Marriage, Divorce, and Re- Marriage (Grand Rapids: Radio Bible Class, 1979) 
12; cf. Adams, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, 54. 

31 Study notes on Tape 2220, p. 28. 



186 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

To be sure, nopveia does sometimes include adultery. But that 
does not indicate its meaning in these divorce texts, in a gospel that is 
concerned with legal niceties in which Matthew clearly distinguishes 
the two terms. This is evident in 15:19 where 7topveia and uoi^eia 
appear side by side. Indeed, Matthew uses nopveia only in chaps. 5, 
15, and 19 and uoixeia in 15 where he distinguishes it from nopveia. 
If he meant adultery in 5 and 19 why did he not use the clear word? 
The question is not, does nopveia ever mean adultery, but does it 
always mean adultery? Lexical evidence does not require the meaning 
adultery in the divorce texts unless it can be proved (which it cannot) 
that the word always means adultery. 

No reference in the NT equates nopveia and uoi^eia as the 
proponents of this view require. The oft quoted reference of Sir 23:23 
as an example of such an equation in pre-Christian Jewish literature 
is far from sure. J. Jensen, who has done the most scholarly word 
study in print on nopveia, translates the passage "she has wantonly 
committed adultery." 32 Isaksson noted already in 1965 that nopveia 
in Sir 23:23 most likely refers to the "sexual desire" that led the wife 
to commit adultery. 33 The same is true of nopveia in Herm. Man. 
4. 1.3-8 and Tob 8:7. 

Acts 15:20 and 29 furnish clear examples of nopveia used in a 
restricted sense and certainly not as a broad word for any kind of 
unlawful sexual activity. 

The letter of James to the local churches of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia 
forbids, in fact, four things proscribed by the Holiness Code of Lv 
17-18, not only for "any man of the house of Israel" but also for "the 
strangers that sojourn among them". . . . These were the meat offered 
to idols (Lv 17:8-9), the eating of blood (Lv 17:10-12), the eating of 
strangled, i.e., not properly butchered, animals (Lv 17:15; cf. Ex 22:31), 
and intercourse with close kin (Lv 1 8:6—1 8). 34 

Here is a clear instance where nopveia does not mean all kinds of 
unlawful sexual activity, but one kind only. 35 

The evangelical Protestant view is faced with another problem: 
the two different meanings simultaneously given to the verb dnoX.uco. 
Though this is not impossible, it is potentially confusing, especially 
when Matthew is so concerned with legal matters. First, divorce and 
remarriage is adultery where no instance of nopveia is involved, 

32 "Does Porneia Mean Fornication? A Critique of Bruce Malina," NovTIQ [1978] 
172f. He places Matt 5:32 and 19:9 in the category of forbidden marriages. 

33 Marriage and Ministry, 133. 

34 J. A. Fitzmyer, "The Matthean Divorce Texts and Some New Palestinian 
Evidence," TS 37 [1976] 209. Also H. J. Richards, "Christ on Divorce," Scripture 11 
[1959] 29-30. 

35 Cf. Bromiley, God and Marriage, 44-45. 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 187 

implying that dTtoXuco does not terminate marriage. Second, where 
Tiopveia is involved, Matthew must be using drtoXuco with the meaning 
of divorce with the right to remarry because in the evangelical 
Protestant view the first marriage is terminated. 

In summary, there appears to be three major problems with the 
evangelical Protestant view. First, it cannot substantiate equating 
Tcopveia with uoixeia. 36 Second, if it could, then it would not be able 
to account for the disciples' reaction in Matt 19:10. Third, the 
position of the exception clause in the protasis of Matt 19:9 does not 
lead to the conclusion that it modifies both verbs; therefore, even if 
divorce is permitted, remarriage is not. These last two matters are 
further complicated if one presses the dictionary definition of rtopveia 
into the context of Matt 19:3-12. 

c. The Betrothal View. Few evangelicals realize that this view 
was the subject of a doctoral dissertation at the University of Uppsala 
in 1965. 37 The betrothal view builds on the fact that in Judaism a 
betrothed or engaged couple were considered "husband" and "wife." 38 
Jewish betrothal was a legal contract which could only be broken by 
formal divorce or by death. If the betrothed proved unfaithful during 
the period of betrothal or was discovered on the first night not to be a 
virgin, then the contract could be broken. This is why Joseph was 
going to divorce Mary when he discovered that she was pregnant 
(Matt 1:19). 

According to this view, then, Tiopveia means premarital sexual 
intercourse (possibly John 8:41), and the exception then permits 
breaking the marriage contract with divorce when unfaithfulness is 
discovered during the betrothal period. The inclusion of the exception 
clause in Matthew's gospel only is explained as appropriate to the 
Jewish makeup of the audience that would have originally read the 
gospel. Isaksson points out that this is actually not a divorce, but "it 
was a matter of cancelling an unfulfilled contract of sale, because one 
of the parties had tricked the other as to the nature of the goods, 
when the price was fixed." 39 This was an exception Jesus had to make 
if he did not want to side with the swindler instead of the person 
swindled. Because the marriage would not have been consummated, if 
unfaithfulness was discovered during the year-long betrothal period, 
the man would be free to marry someone else. 40 

36 See especially Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry, 131-35. 

37 Cf. Abel Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry. 

38 Cf. Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times, 1. 354 and G. Delling, "TtdpOevog," 
TDNT, 5 [1967] 835 n. 59. 

39 Marriage and Ministry, 140.. 

40 See James M. Boice, "The Biblical View of Divorce," Eternity (December, 1970) 
19-21; and J. Dwight Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1981) 354-58. 



188 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

This view is quite defensible and easily harmonizes with Paul's 
summary of the Lord's teaching in 1 Cor 7:10-11. No breakup of a 
marriage is permitted, though dissolving an engagement is, if fornica- 
tion has occurred. Its weakness lies in the technical meaning given to 
TTopveia. Ttopveia is nowhere else used in the restricted sense of 
"unchastity during the betrothal period." 

d. The Unlawful Marriage View. This view, which is the most 
defended among scholars over all others, has three variations. The 
least popular form understands rcopveia to refer to marriages to non- 
Christians since it would be a form of spiritual idolatry and thus 
unlawful. 41 Another variation sees rcopveia as a reference to inter- 
marriage between a Jewish Christian and a gentile Christian. This 
could easily be the meaning in Acts 15:20 and 29 where Jewish 
Christians, still concerned with obeying the Mosaic law with its 
prohibition against marrying a gentile (Deut 7:1-3), would be greatly 
offended if this were happening even between believers of mixed 
racial backgrounds (cf. Jub. 30:7, 1 1). 

More commonly, however, Tropveia is understood by those who 
hold this view to indicate unlawful incestuous marriages, i.e., marriages 
within the prohibited degrees of kinship proscribed in Lev 18:6-18. 
The proponents of this view see the restricted meaning of nopveia in 
1 Cor 5:1 and especially Acts 15:20 and 29 as the key to understanding 
its meaning in the Matthean exception clause. 

This view was published by W. K. Lowther Clarke in 1929, 42 
given preference by me in 1954 43 and more recently supported by 
F. F. Bruce. 44 Clarke's explanation of the view is this: 

The Apostolic Decree of Acts xv. 29 promulgated a compromise. . . . 
Since the first three articles of the compromise are concerned with 
practices innocent enough to the Gentiles, the fourth must be of a 
similar nature. The passage in 1 Corinthians gives us the clue. Porneia 
here means marriage within the prohibited Levitical degrees. . . . [This] 
was a live issue, and porneia was the word by which it was known. 

Turning to St. Matthew, the problem we have to account for is the 
obscuring of the plain rule of St. Mark by an exception which seems 



A. Mahoney, "A New Look at the Divorce Clauses in Mt 5,32 and 19,9," CBQ 
30 [1968] 29-38. 

42 New Testament Problems (New York: Macmillan) 59-60. 

43 Published in 1958 in The Place of Women in the Church (New York: Macmillan, 
1958) 43-48. 

"New Testament History (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969) 287. Also, R. 
Martin, "St. Matthew's Gospel in Recent Study." ExpTim 80 [1969] 136; J. R. Mueller, 
"The Temple Scroll and the Gospel Divorce Texts," RevQ 38 [1980] 247-56; and many 
more. 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 189 

inconsistent with the teaching of our Lord even in St. Matthew. If the 
foregoing argument holds, the reference is to the local Syrian problem. 
One exception is allowed to the universal rule: when a man who has 
married within the prohibited degrees puts away his wife the word 
adultery is out of place. Rather the marriage is null. . . . 

. . . .There is no divorce, but causes of nullity may be recognized. 

In addition to this evidence from the NT itself for this particular 
meaning of Ttopveia, Joseph Fitzmyer and James R. Mueller have 
shown from the Qumran literature that m3T, the Hebrew counterpart 
to Ttopveia, was used in Palestine in the first century specifically of 
marriage within those prohibited relationships. 45 Thus it was a 
meaning known to the people of the time when our Lord spoke on 
divorce. 

This view seems completely defensible. It does not share the 
weakness of the betrothal view in that Ttopveia does have the meaning 
of incest in passages other than the debated ones both within and 
outside the NT. It also accounts for the reaction of the disciples and 
removes any contradiction with the other Gospel accounts and with 
1 Cor 7:10-11. 

B. The Teaching of Paul 

1 . Concerning Marriage (Rom 7: 1-3) 

In this passage Paul develops the concept that death releases the 
believer from his obligation to the law. He then illustrates this 
principle with marriage, stating that a woman is bound to her 
husband as long as he lives (and no exceptions). When and only when 
he dies is she released from the marriage relationship. If a woman is 
joined (that is, actual marriage, not illicit intercourse, since the same 
word is used in both parts of v 3) to another man while her husband 
is alive, she will be called an adulteress. A second marriage while the 
first mate is living is adultery. 

2. Concerning Divorce ( 1 Cor 7:10-16) 

The main point of Paul's counsel is clear: maintain the marriage. 
If separation occurs (which Paul does not approve of), then only two 
options remain: remain unmarried or be reconciled to the original 
partner. In this advice Paul said he was following the teachings of 
Christ, and he did not mention any exception that would sanction 
divorce. This reinforces the view that "except for Ttopveia" means 
something uncommon and more peculiar to a Jewish audience. 



Fitzmyer, "Matthaean Divorce Texts," 213-21; cf. A. Stock, "Matthaean Divorce 
Texts," BTB 8 [1978] 25-28. 



190 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

In a spiritually mixed marriage Paul's counsel is the same: stay 
together. His reasons are: (1) for the sake of the family (v 14); (2) for 
the sake of peace (v 15); and (3) for the sake of personal testimony (v 
16). 

V 15 is understood in two entirely different ways. Some say that 
Paul permits remarriage if the unbelieving partner gets the divorce. 
Others insist he says nothing about the possibility of a second 
marriage for the deserted believer. The privilege to remarry is the 
so-called Pauline privilege of the Roman Catholic view, and the 
evangelical Protestant view agrees with it. 46 

Two things need to be noted. First, the departure of the unsaved 
spouse is not necessarily a divorce; it may only be a separation which 
would in no case leave the other party free to remarry. 47 Second, even 
if it does refer to a divorce initiated by the unsaved partner, Paul says 
nothing about a second marriage for the believer. Indeed, both vv 14 
and 16 make it clear that remarriage is not the subject of v 15 at all. 
Paul does not introduce that subject until v 39. What is the bondage 
which the believer is not under? "All that ou 8e8ouAx6Tai clearly 
means is that he or she need not feel so bound by Christ's prohibition 
of divorce as to be afraid to depart when the heathen partner insists 
on separation." 48 

Like the Lord, Paul disallowed divorce. He did recognize that 
the unbelieving partner in a spiritually mixed marriage might leave 
(and subsequently divorce) in which case the believer could not 
prevent it. But in no case was the believer free to remarry. The legal 
facet of any marriage may be dissolved, but the one flesh relationship 
and vows made to God do not become non-existent until the death of 
one of the partners. 

Some attempt to justify the remarriage of divorced persons on a 
certain interpretation of 1 Cor 7:27-28. 49 It assumes that the phrase 
"released from a wife (yuvaiKog)" includes divorced from a wife. 50 

46 See Duty, Divorce and Remarriage, 100. Unfortunately Duty, earlier in his work 
(p. 50) appealed to J. A. Bengel in support of his view that the exception clause 
qualifies both the divorce and remarriage under the circumstances given. Duty should 
have noted the brackets around the words that supported his view in the Gnomen: they 
signify that they are the comments not of Bengel, but the annotations of Steudel, the 
editor of the German edition of the Gnomen. If Duty would have looked at Bengel's 
comments at 1 Cor 7:15 he would have seen that Bengel apparently did not even allow 
the remarriage of the deserted believer. 

47 D. L. Dungan, The Sayings of Jesus in the Churches of Paul (Philadelphia: 
Fortress, 1971)96-99. 

48 A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. 
Clark, 1914) 143. 

49 C. Brown, "chorizo — Divorce, Separation and Remarriage," NIDNTT3 (1978) 
536-37. 

50 Cf. Duty, Divorce and Remarriage, 109. 



ryrie: divorce and remarriage 191 

However, in v 25 Paul introduces a new subject, signaling the same 
by using nepi 5e (cf . 7:1; 8:1; 1 2: 1 ; 1 6: 1 ); and the subject introduced is 
tgjv TtapGevcov, virgins, not divorcees. 51 Furthermore, "released" 
appears in the perfect tense, referring not to freedom from marriage 
by divorce, but to a state of freedom, i.e., the single state. 52 

3. Concerning Remarriage 

Since v 15 does not address the question of remarriage, and since 
v 27 refers to a single person (most likely an engaged couple, twv 
TtapGevcov being the only instance of the genitive plural in the NT, 
and TtapGevoc, in the rest of the chapter refers only to women), the 
only time in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul deals with the question of remarriage 
is in v 39. The two restrictions he places on remarriage are (1) the 
death of the first mate (as also implied in Rom 7:1-3) and (2) the 
necessity of the new partner being a believer. Later Paul also urged 
younger widows to remarry (1 Tim 5:14). 

C. Summary 

In summary, the NT presents a higher standard than the OT. It 
was our Lord who announced this superior standard by going further 
in his teaching than the strictest Jews of his day in that he disallowed 
divorce altogether. Although he did not blame Moses for allowing a 
bill of divorce, he replaced Jewish law with God's ideal state as 
announced before the fall of man. 

The "exception clause" apparently concerns unlawful unions and 
is no license to justify divorce for sexual immorality. Even if im- 
morality occurs, forgiveness and reconciliation are the goals, not 
divorce. Even if a legal divorce should occur, the "one flesh" relation- 
ship cannot be severed, and that is why remarriage is disallowed. 
Even separation, albeit temporary, is not approved, and if it happens, 
reconciliation is still the goal. Death of a partner alone breaks all that 
is involved in the "one flesh" relationship. 

Paul's teaching is the same. Though recognizing that separations 
may occur, he does not approve of them, and certainly not of divorce. 
He included no exception for divorce when he summarized the Lord's 
teaching, and he only allowed for remarriage after the death of one 
partner. 

The practical problems of applying this teaching must have been 
present in the first century as they are in ours. The scripture does not 



5 'For the most satisfactory of the four views of what is taking place in 1 Cor. 
7:25-38 see J. K. Elliott, "Paul's Teaching on Marriage in 1 Corinthians: Some 
Problems Considered," NTS 19 [1973] 219-25. Most writers now follow his leading. 

"Robertson and Plummer, / Corinthians, 153. 



192 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

deal with all the cases that can arise, but it does give us the 
restrictions, the goals, and the reminder of the power of the Holy 
Spirit. If these were sufficient in those days, they are also sufficient 
for today. 

Doctrine must never be compromised by cases; cases should 
always conform to doctrine. Let us obey God's word and never adjust 
it for immediate solutions. This is the only way for anyone to have 
fellowship and fulfillment according to God's standards. As Bromiley 
rightly says, people ". . . must be ready to obey God and not remarry 
after separation even though they might plead, as they often do, that 
they have a right to happiness or to the fulfillment of natural 
desires." 53 

Christian marriage is made an example in the NT of the relation 
between Christ and his Church. That great mystery is concretized in 
Christian marriage. Among other things, this surely means showing 
love, forgiving as often as necessary, and being faithful to the vow of 
commitment each made to the other until death separates. 



53 GW and Marriage, 40-41 . 

*I am indebted to Bill Heth for making available to me the careful research he has 
done for a thesis and for many conversations that have sharpened my thinking. 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 193-205 



THEOLOGY AND ART IN THE 

NARRATIVE OF THE AMMONITE WAR 

(2 SAMUEL 10-12) 

John I. Lawlor 



The well known David/ Bathsheba incident is examined in its 
broader narrative framework of 2 Sam 10:1-12:31. Much of the 
meaning and appreciation of the biblical account of that event is 
missed apart from its context. The larger Ammonite War narrative is 
a classic example of the masterful use of literary techniques by a 
biblical writer. It is not, however, "literary art for art 's sake. " The 
artistic presentation of the material greatly enhances the writer's 
perspective on the profound and vital theological issues at stake. 



INTRODUCTION 

The familiar narrative of David's adulterous involvement with 
Bathsheba and his subsequent confrontation by Nathan (2 Sam 
1 1:1-12:25) is often cited as an example of James' model of "lust-sin- 
death" (James 1:14-15). To be sure, these elements are apparent in 
the David-Bathsheba narrative; but a careful scrutiny of the text 
indicates that there is much more. Initially, it is to be observed that 
the David-Bathsheba pericope is but part of a larger narrative unit. 
The Ammonite war is actually the narrative framework within which 
the David-Bathsheba incident is depicted. This is clearly demonstrated 
by the fact that the phrase p -, "!nx , n' , T ("Now it happened after- 
wards . . ." NASB) of 2 Sam 10:1 is precisely the same phrase that is 
found in 13:1 ("Now it was after this . . ."NASB); 1 thus 2 Sam 10: 1 — 
12:31 is to be treated as a narrative unit. 2 This fact might help shape 
the reader's perception of the events recorded in 11:1-12:25. 



'For other occurrences of this phrase in 2 Sam see 1:1, 2:1, 8:1, 15:1. 

2 This narrative unit, in turn, is part of a still larger literary unit which is commonly 
known as the "Succession Narrative," 2 Sam 9-20. "In the Bible narratives which are 
more or less complete in themselves link up with one another so as to create larger 



194 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The intent of this study is not to present a verse-by-verse 
analysis; rather, the purpose is threefold: (1) to suggest a literary 
structure for these three chapters, (2) to investigate the narrative 
technique that has been employed, (3) to raise — and seek to probe — the 
question of "how the text has meaning." 



The drama of the Ammonite War would appear to develop 
through a sequence of episodic units which progressively create 
tensions, ambiguities, and complications both for the characters in 
the drama as well as for the readers. A pivotal point seems to turn the 
flow of events around, resulting in the gradual resolution of the 
difficulties of the first half of the narrative. 

10:1-19 

This first unit introduces the context of Israel's conflict with 
Ammon. Not only does this reappear toward the end of the narrative 
but it also provides the "subsurface" context in which David's sin 
(11:1) and Uriah's death (1 1:14-17) take place. The events leading up 
to the Ammonite conflict are sketched in 10:1-5. Nahash, the 
Ammonite king dies and his son, Hanun, takes the throne. By means 
of direct speech, the reader is informed of David's apparent intention 
to "deal kindly" 3 with Hanun; Davidic emissaries are then sent to 
offer condolences. Hanun's advisers question David's motives; perhaps 
the emissaries were actually sent to spy out the territory. At this point 
the reader is left to weigh the opposing claims of David (10:2) and the 
Ammonite princes (10:3). Hertzberg argues that some of David's 
earlier dealings might have provided adequate reason for the question- 
ing of his motives. 4 At any rate, Hanun draws his own conclusions 
and publicly shames David's messengers. 

The stage is now set for the first military encounter between 
Israel and the Ammonites, who have hired 33,000 Syrians to help 
them in this effort. Chapter 10:6-14 is characterized primarily by 
rapid action: David sends Joab and mighty men to the battle (10:7); 
the Ammonites and Syrians set their strategy (10:8); Joab perceives 



literary units. In other words, narratives which on the one hand can be considered as 
self-contained units may be regarded on the other hand as parts of larger wholes." 
Bar-Efrat, "Some Observations on the Analysis of Structure in Biblical Narrative," VT 
30(1980) 156. 

3 The term ton appears here, suggesting the possibility of a treaty arrangement 
between David and Nahash, which David now intends to honor with Hanun. 

4 H. W. Hertzberg, / & II Samuel, trans. J. S. Bowden (OTL; Philadelphia: 
Westminster, 1976) 303. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 195 

the strategy of the enemy and lays his own (10:9-10). At this point 
the narrative slows down by recording the direct speech of Joab 
(10:1 1-12). The speech is important for two reasons: first, the reader 
has the opportunity to focus momentarily on the character of Joab 
through what he says, and second, his concluding remark, ". . . may 
Yhwh do what seems good to him," provides the only reference to 
Yhwh in the narrative up to the pivotal point alluded to above. This 
latter point seems rather significant and will be raised again. The 
narrator then reports that Joab and his army were momentarily 
successful against the Syrians and Ammonites, for they fled before 
Israel (10:13-14). The text does not indicate that the Syrians and 
Ammonites were sorely defeated; they fled. Actual military defeat is 
not seen until the final unit of the entire narrative. The text is explicit 
in reporting the fact that Joab returned to Jerusalem following this 
encounter. 

Chapter 10:15-19 records David's defeat of the Syrian attempt to 
"regroup." Smith observes that the paragraph ". . . breaks the sequence 
of the narrative. . . ." 5 If, however, as Childs would argue, the present 
shape of the narrative has its own integrity, 6 then the reader is 
obligated to inquire concerning the function of this short scene. Two 
points may be mentioned: first, David's defeat of the Syrians explains 
why the Ammonites have no help when Israel inflicts the final blow at 
the conclusion of the narrative. The second, and perhaps the more 
important point, is that it sets up a marked contrast in David, who is 
here seen to be leading his own army, while in the next episodic unit 
he is seen to remain in Jerusalem. 

11:1-5 

This second major episodic unit is characterized by rapidity of 
action. In three short verses (3-5) Bathsheba's status moves from 
"wife of Uriah" to "pregnant by David." Perhaps more intriguing, 
however, are the ambiguities of character which are created primarily 
by the narrator. 

Quite noticeable is the repetitious use of the term n^ ("to send") 
in four of these five verses (1, 3-5). This constitutes a continuation of 
a pattern established in the previous unit where the term appears 
eight times. 7 Altogether, the term is used 23 times in the narrative of 
the Ammonite war alone, while in the Succession Narrative of chaps. 



H. P. Smith, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Samuel 
(ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1904) 315. 

6 B. S. Childs, "On Reading the Elijah Narratives," Int 34 (1980) 134. 
7 10:2; 10:3 (2x); 10:4; 10:5; 10:6; 10:7; 10:16. 



196 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

9-20 it is used a total of 44 times. 8 The use of this term in these 
chapters, with a concentrated use in chaps. 10-12, provide an excellent 
example of Alter's category of Leitwort. 9 Further significance might 
be seen in the fact that eleven times David is the one who "sends," 
and twice he issues orders "to send." 10 

What is the significance of such a concentrated use of this term? 
One is tempted to see in this a conscious development of a power 
motif. David the king asserts his authority, "sending" people to do his 
bidding; he "sends" word here and there; he "sends" for Bathsheba. 
Joab, David's commander, "sends" messengers and messages. Ulti- 
mately, Yhwh Himself "sends" his word to David by the prophet 
Nathan. This would seem to correlate with the broader context in 
which this narrative is set, that is, the Succession Narrative. Referring 
to the repetitious use of this term, Simon remarks, "In this way the 
narrator conveys the strength of David's position. . . ."" 

What is the reader to make of the two narrative notations found 
in 11:1: "In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to 
battle . . ."and "But David remained at Jerusalem."? Some observers 
are wont to gloss over these statements. 12 Once again, however, the 
reader must weigh the narrative intention behind such remarks. As 
noted above, the preceding scene describes David's leading the army 
of Israel against the Syrians. Immediately, then, the narrator turns to 
a time when kings normally go out to battle. It would have been 
sufficient for the narrator to record the fact that David "sent" Joab 
against the Ammonites in the spring of the year. Instead, he con- 
sciously informs the reader that David remained in Jerusalem at a 
time when normally he would be involved in military activity. Alter 
refers to the opening line of chapter 1 1 as "... a brilliant transitional 
device." 13 He explains his evaluation when he observes that "It firmly 
ties in the story of David as adulterer and murderer with the large 
national-historical perspective of the preceding chronicle." 14 This 
writer would add that its brilliance is also demonstrated by the subtle, 
rather ambiguous manner in which it raises the question of David's 
character, a question which then becomes the very focus of the 
narrative. 

8 G. Lisowsky, Konkordanz zum Hebraischen Alten Testament (Stuttgart: Wiirt- 
tembergische Biblelanstalt, 1958) 1438-43. Perhaps it should also be pointed out here 
that the term is used only 9 times in 2 Samuel 1-8 and only 4 times in 2 Samuel 21-24. 
This clearly focuses attention upon the concentrated use of the term in 2 Samuel 9-20. 

9 R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (New York: Basic Books, 1981) 95. 
Joab is the subject of the verb 4 times; Yhwh is the subject of the verb twice. 

"U. Simon, "The Poor Man's Ewe-Lamb," Bib 48 (1967) 209. 

12 Smith, Books of Samuel, 317. 

"Alter, Art of Biblical Narrative, 76. 

14 lbid. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 197 

One further issue that deserves comment is the narrator's treat- 
ment of Bathsheba. Hertzberg raises the possibility of ". . . feminine 
flirtation . . ." 15 on Bathsheba 's part and suggests that she perhaps 
anticipated the potential of being seen. 16 What is fascinating about his 
treatment of the question is the fact that after raising all these 
"possibilities" he concludes that ". . . all this is unimportant for the 
biblical narrator." 17 Perhaps his last observation is the most perceptive, 
for the narrative avoids focusing on her thoughts, feelings, actions 
and words for the most part. Her only words in the entire narrative 
are found in v 5: "I am with child." The relative silence of the text 
concerning Bathsheba may very well be the narrator's way of keeping 
the reader's attention on the primary character in this scene. 

11:6-13 

The narrative context is set in 10:1-19 while 11:1-5 quickly 
relates the circumstances which lead to the artistic account of David's 
attempt to deceive Uriah in the present scene. The only recorded 
speech of Bathsheba, brief though it is, sets in motion a course of 
action which ultimately results in her husband's death. 

From a literary point of view, this scene is, according to Alter's 
definition, a "proper narrative event:" 

A proper narrative event occurs when the narrative tempo slows down 
enough for us to discriminate a particular scene; to have the illusion of 
the scene's "presence" as it unfolds; to be able to imagine the interaction 
of personages . . . together with the freight of motivations, ulterior 
aims, character traits, political, social, or religious constraints, moral 
and theological meanings, borne by their speech, gestures, and acts. 18 

The narrative blending of action and dialogue is noteworthy as it 
builds tension, moves toward crisis, characterizes David and Uriah, 
as well as in its effecting reader participation in the flow of events. All 
this is initiated by the narrator's particularly concentrated use of his 
Leitwort nbW . Three times in 11:6 the term appears. Thus Uriah 
becomes the unsuspecting victim of the king's pressure and power, as 
David attempts to conceal his wrongdoing. 

While the Davidic pretext of concern over the progress of the 
war and the welfare of the troops seems obvious to most readers, it 
should be noted that the narrator places the reader in the position of 
having to "weigh claims" at this point. That is to say, direct speech by 



15 Hertzberg, I & II Samuel 309. 

16 Ibid. 

17 Ibid., 310. 

18 Alter, Art of Biblical Narrative, 65. 



198 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the two main characters in the scene is the most explicit device 
employed at this point, a device which does not result in certainty for 
the reader. 19 

David the king of Israel and Uriah the Hittite provide an 
interesting and rewarding study in contrast here. David the king of 
Israel is selfish. While his army is engaged in warfare in Ammon, he 
is home satisfying himself with another man's wife. Uriah the Hittite, 
on the other hand, is selfless. When summoned by the king and given 
the opportunity to enjoy rest and relaxation at home with his wife he 
refuses. David, the king of Israel, is cunning and deceptive. If he can 
entice Uriah into cooperating, he might extricate himself from a 
situation which, if exposed, could lead to his death (Lev 20:10). Uriah 
the Hittite, on the other hand is unsuspecting. 20 Yet it is this very 
virtue which eventuates in his death! David the king of Israel is 
characterized by infidelity and disloyalty. He has wilfully become 
involved in an adulterous relationship with the wife of one of his 
warriors; he has indulged in the pleasures of home which his warriors 
have denied themselves for the cause of Israel. Uriah the Hittite, on 
the other hand, is marked by fidelity to the king, his commander-in- 
chief, and loyalty to the cause of Israel. 

Uriah's character is especially evident in his direct speech of 
11:11. When asked by David why he had not gone to his home the 
night before, at the king's urging, he replies: 

The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths; and my lord Joab and 
the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to 
my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, 
and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing. 

A straightforward consciousness of duty and priorities is expressed in 
this response. Furthermore, if David had been truly attentive to 
Uriah's words, he might have been pricked in his conscience. It is to 
be noted also that this speech of Uriah becomes important later in the 
narrative when Nathan confronts the king with a parable. 

The reader, aware of David's plight, senses the growing frustration 
of the king as he unsuccessfully attempts to cajole Uriah into providing 
him, unknowingly, with a means of escape from a most difficult 

19 See Alter's discussion of a "scale of means" by which characterization takes 
place; Ibid., 116ff. 

20 Hertzberg (p. 310) argues that because of court gossip, etc., it is likely that Uriah 
knew that something was awry and that in this scene he consciously thwarts the king's 
plan. If this is so, it cannot be established on the basis of the narrative itself — only 
speculation. If one wants to speculate, it would seem reasonable to assume that if he 
did suspect something he would not have delivered the letter containing his execution 
notice. The narrative taken at face value makes better sense. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 199 

situation. At the same time, the reader quickly develops a healthy 
respect for this Hittite warrior. 

1 1 -.14-27 a 

As David's ruthless scheme to rid himself of this "all too loyal 
soldier" develops in this next episodic unit, the plot becomes more 
complicated. The adultery and deception of the previous units lead to 
further, but this time lethal, deception here, as several Israelites are 
slain in the effort to accomplish the death of Uriah. As this part of 
the narrative progresses to crisis proportions, David's absolute cal- 
lousness becomes apparent. 

Even in his resolve to dispatch Uriah, 21 David attempts to make 
the setting appear as natural as possible, for he arranges for Uriah's 
death to occur in the context of battle. Perhaps a touch of irony is 
evident here in that the very loyalty which first frustrates the king's 
purpose becomes the tool that is used to bring about the loyal 
soldier's death. As a matter of fact, David misuses the loyalty in two 
ways: first, the letter containing the details of David's plan is carried 
by Uriah — an indication that the king was using this quality of Uriah 
to his own advantage; second, the scheme, briefly outlined though it 
is, suggests that David believed that Uriah's character would lead him 
to remain on the front line even though his fellow soldiers retreated. 
This grotesque "use"/ misuse of loyalty is also evident with respect to 
Joab, although it takes a different form. Aware of his commander's 
loyalty to the king, David is certain Joab will carry out his orders, 
regardless of the morality/ immorality of them. 

The narrator has effectively drawn the reader's attention to this 
issue. The one whose apparent attempt to show loyalty to the new 
king of Ammon was rebuffed (10:1-3) — an event which leads to the 
development of the present circumstances — is deeply enmeshed in a 
desperate scheme, the success of which depends upon the unsuspecting 
loyalty of one and the misdirected loyalty of another. The "uninformed 
loyalty" of Uriah is a more genuine loyalty, even though it is used by 
David and leads to his death. The "informed loyalty" of Joab is 
political and is used by David in an effort to avoid his own death. 
David's total insensitivity reaches a climax when he learns of the 
death of several warriors, including Uriah: "Thus you shall say to 
Joab, 'Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now 
one and now another' . . ."(1 1:25). 

21 Miscall draws attention to the fact that "The narrative slows down through the 
use of detail and repetition allowing us, as readers, to consider alternatives, to create 
counter-texts, and to thereby better realize David's singlemindedness, his lack of 
consideration of alternatives." Miscall, "Literary Unity in Old Testament Narrative," 
Semeia 15(1979)40. 



200 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The narrator's technique in this scene is once again dominated by 
the reporting of action and dialogue; however, two additional tech- 
niques are employed effectively: internal speech (1 1:20-21) and repeti- 
tion (11:15-17, 22-24). The example of interior speech in this case is 
Joab's anticipation of what David will say when he learns that the 
plan was not carried out in the manner David had described, and it is 
combined with Joab's anticipation of the king's reaction. His anticipa- 
tion of the wrath of the king and words of the king combine to 
indicate a rather intimate knowledge of David on his part. 22 This, in 
turn, adds to the characterization of David which is developed by the 
narrator. 

The scene closes with David taking Bathsheba as his wife after 
her days of mourning for her slain husband. The text again indicates 
that David "sent" (nbvj) for Bathsheba (cf. 11:4); but it is non- 
committal with respect to his motives, as well as her thoughts and 
feelings. It would appear on the surface as though David believes the 
issue has been resolved. The woman whom he desired and cohabited 
with illicitly has now become his wife, and the narrator reports that 
the child conceived in this adulterous relationship is born. 

11:27b 

While the final statement of chapter 1 1 does not constitute an 
episodic unit, it receives particular attention here because of its 
pivotal location and function. The narrative up to this point has 
steadily moved toward crisis and it is interesting and perhaps signifi- 
cant that Yhwh is noticeably absent from the narrative except for 
Joab's reference to him in the context of Israel's encounter with 
Ammon and Syria (11:12). The reader is left to wonder what else 
David's involvement with Bathsheba and the attempt to cover it up 
might lead to, should secrecy be further threatened. Thus this very 
important statement turns the entire narrative around: "But the thing 
that David did was evil in the eyes of Yhwh." Immediately the reader 
is "put on notice" that David is not going to "get away with" this. The 
initial deed and the subsequent events have not escaped the eye of 
Yhwh. This creates anticipation within the reader, as he waits for the 
resolution of the situation. Divine activity now becomes very evident. 
The next statement of the narrative, in fact, indicates that Yhwh 
"sends" (n'pw) Nathan to David! Furthermore, Yhwh's presence now 
becomes very apparent, for the Tetragrammaton appears thirteen 
times in chap. 12. 



22 Smith says that this ". . . reflects the opinion of the narrator rather than that of 
Joab or of David," Books of Samuel, 319. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 201 

12:1-6 

This episodic unit presenting Nathan's parable and David's re- 
sponse confirms the direction which 11:27b apparently gives to the 
narrative. Yhwh's "sending" the prophet to David signals the divine 
intention to pursue the situation to a resolution. The parable itself is 
artfully contrived and gives evidence of having been deliberately 
designed to communicate a message and to effect a particular response 
from the recipient. Simon argues that the parable is to be seen as an 
example of the genre of "juridical parable." 23 

One of the more important features about the parable is the fact 
that it parallels the situation which gave rise to its telling, yet that 
parallel is not so obvious to the recipient that it reveals its point. 24 
Simon refers to it as a "veil of concealment." 25 An illustration of this 
point is seen in the terminology which Nathan uses in 12:3 where he 
indicates that the ewe lamb ". . . used to eat (V?Xh) of his morsel, and 
drink (nnwn) from his cup, and lie (23Wn) in his bosom. . . ." The 
significance of this is to be seen in the similarity of this statement to 
Uriah's statement, recorded in 11:11, when in response to David's 
query as to why he would not go to his home, he responds: ". . . shall 
I then go to my house, to eat ("?bxV) and to drink, (rnnwVl ) and to lie 
(3?wVl ) with my wife. ..." 

The parable also has been constructed and is told in such a 
manner as to elicit a specific response from its recipient. Gunn points 
out that, "If the addressee were to give the wrong answer to the 
parable . . . the parable would be ludicrously pointless." 26 David's 
initial response (". . . As the Lord lives, the man who has done this 
deserves to die . . ."), however, is the expected response and leaves 
David vulnerable. 

Rather lengthy discussions have been carried on concerning 
what/ who the various elements of the parable "stand for." It would 
seem more appropriate to talk in terms of "the point of the parable." 
The key appears in 12:4 where we read that the rich man was 
". . . unwilling (*?brP1) to take one of his own flock or herd . . ." and 
12:6 where David says that the rich man should make four-fold 
restoration ". . . because he did this thing and because he had no pity 

23 See discussions in U. Simon, "Poor Man's Ewe-Lamb," pp. 220ff. Gunn responds: 
"Now if Simon really is suggesting . . . that this is a 'literary genre' with a primary 
connection with a 'legal' setting of kings and 'judges at the gates,' then one must 
observe that as such it can hardly have enjoyed much of a vogue." Gunn, "Traditional 
Composition in the 'Succession Narrative,'" VT26 (1976) 218. 

24 Gunn, "Traditional Composition," 219. 

25 Simon, "Poor Man's Ewe-Lamb," 229. 

26 Gunn, "Traditional Composition," 219. 



202 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

(*?un)." David's anger appears to have been aroused by the callousness 
of the rich man. The callousness was clearly demonstrated by the rich 
man's slaying the poor man's ewe lamb. Herein, then, lies the point of 
the parable and when David demonstrates anger over the callousness 
of the rich man, he is, in effect, demonstrating anger over his own 
callousness. 

From the narrative point of view, this episodic unit balances out 
the episodic unit immediately preceding 11:27b, 1 1 : 14— 27a. David's 
own callousness is clearly manifested both through the scheme to rid 
himself of Uriah and his response when learning of the death of 
several Israelite warriors, including Uriah (1 1:25). As Simon remarks: 

The king who was usually so sparing over the lives of his men, and 
whose anger at reports of unnecessary loss of life struck fear into his 
generals, assumed a mantle of indifference when he learnt that amongst 
the fallen was also the husband of Bathsheba. 27 

12:7- 15a 

An outstanding characteristic of this episodic unit is its domina- 
tion by dialogue. The entire block of material is devoted to dialogue 
with the exception of the narrator's report that "Nathan went to his 
house" (12:15a). Of further interest is the fact that of all the words 
spoken in this scene only two are spoken by David: rnrp 1 ? Tixun ("I 
have sinned against Yhwh."). Twice in Nathan's speech the addressee 
and the reader are reminded that these words are actually the words 
of Yhwh (12:7, 1 1). This literary unit provides the reader with a good 
example of the narrative techniques of "contrastive dialogue." 28 

The mesage of Yhwh is divided into two parts. The first, 12:7-10, 
begins by reminding David of what Yhwh has done for him (12:8-9a) 
and then moves to reminding David of what he had done against 
Uriah and ultimately Yhwh himself (12:9b- 10). That an emphasis is 
placed upon David's unacceptable conduct toward Uriah is evident in 
two ways. First, Nathan reminds David twice of the fact that he is 
guilty of slaying Uriah "with the sword." Second, Nathan twice 
rehearses David's action of ". . . taking his/ Uriah's wife to be your 
wife." Nevertheless, the promise that "the sword" would be an ever- 
present factor in his house is directly linked to David's "despising" 
(HT3) the word of Yhwh (12:9) and Yhwh himself (12:10). 

The second part of Yhwh's message (12:11-12) focuses upon the 
clandestine nature of David's involvement with Bathsheba. Because 



"Simon, "Poor Man's Ewe-Lamb," 231-32. 

28 Alter defines this as, ". . . to juxtapose some form of very brief statement with 
some form of verbosity." Art of Biblical Narrative, 72-73. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 203 

of David's elaborate attempts to maintain the secrecy of the matter, 
his own wives would publicly be shamed by relative and neighbor. 29 
In this way, therefore, the divine message of this episodic unit 
reverses the Davidic action which characterized 11:6-13. Yhwh's 
words, "I will take your wives . . ." (nj? 1 ?) are reminiscent of David's 
action of "taking" (n,? 1 ?) Bathsheba (cf. 12:11 with 11:4; 12:9, 10). 

David's two-word response is simple but powerful. Gunn observes 
that, "the stunning simplicity of David's response to Nathan . . . func- 
tions powerfully to reinstate him in the reader's estimation. . . ." 30 
Nathan, at this point, announces to the king that Yhwh has put away 
his sin and that he shall not die. Thus the king's self-pronounced 
judgment (12:5) is reversed by Yhwh. The child, however, would die. 

12:15b-25 

The focus of attention in this seventh episodic unit is upon David 
and the child with an emphasis upon the former. The scene takes the 
reader from David's seven-day vigil for the ill child to his seeming 
lack of grief following the death of the child. The portion of the 
narrative devoted to David's vigil moves at a much slower pace than 
that which tells of David's activities following the death of the child. 
In "rapid-fire" style, v 20 reports that David "arose" (DJ7*]), "washed" 
(rOTlX "anointed" flon), "put on" Ol^rn), "went" (XT]), "wor- 
shipped" (inn^']), "went" (JO']), "asked" ('JXUn), and "ate" (Vpxh)." 
This sudden change of behavior was noticeable even to his servants 
(12:21). 

This unit ends with the conception and birth of a second, 
legitimate child named "Solomon" of whom it is said that "Yhwh 
loves him" (12:24). This is the second occurrence in the narrative of 
the narrator reporting "inside information" with respect to divine 
feelings/ responses (cf. 11:27b). Brueggemann suggests that this is 
evidence of "the Yahwistic underpinning of this political history. . . ." 31 

Two other comments from the narrator in this section deserve 
attention. In 12:15b Bathsheba is referred to as "Uriah's wife" — this 
in spite of the fact that she has become the wife of David by this 
point. At the conclusion of this portion of the narrative she is spoken 
of as "his/ David's wife." This seems to serve as a connection to 11:1- 
5 where she begins as the wife of Uriah yet ends up pregnant by 
David. In 11:1-5 Bathsheba conceives David's child while she is 



"Cf. 2 Sam 16:20-23. 

30 D. M. Gunn, "David and the Gift of the Kingdom (2 Sam. 2-4, 9-20, I Kings 
1-2)," Semeia 3 (1975) 20. 

3I W. Brueggemann, "On Trust and Freedom: A Study of Faith in the Succession 
Narrative," Int 26(1972)9. 



204 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Uriah's wife; in 12: 15b— 25 while the child is yet alive she is referred to 
as "Uriah's wife." After the death of the child, Bathsheba, now 
spoken of as "David's wife," conceives another child by David. Roth 
notes that the narrative involving David and Bathsheba ". . . begins 
with David desiring Bathsheba and ends in David having Bathsheba 
as wife who bears the son." 32 This portion of the narrative thus 
provides a resolution to the complication of 11:1-5. 

12:26-31 

With the solutions to the problems created by the David /Bath- 
sheba incident finally worked through, the narrator now returns to 
the broader framework of the Ammonite war. Joab has fought 
against the Ammonite royal city and has subdued it; now he sends 
(nVw) word to David inviting him to come and deal the death blow to 
the Ammonite insurrection. 33 

This second part of the narrative dealing with the Ammonite war 
also brings to a final resolution the problem which initiated the entire 
narrative. In 10:1-19 Ammon revolts against Israel. While Joab gains 
some sort of victory, the fact that in 11:1 David must send Joab 
against her sufficiently demonstrates the temporary nature of that 
victory. However, in 12:26-31 partial victory becomes total victory. 

CONCLUSION 

The narrative of the Ammonite war is a fascinating study in 
divine resolution of a complex set of circumstances created by human 
greed, lust, deception and indifference. Furthermore, it is a fine 
example of narrative artistry. It is characterized by concentricity 34 
and symmetry. This writer suggests the following chiastic symmetry 
for the narrative: 



32 W. Roth, "You are the Man! Structural Interaction in 2 Samuel 10-12," Semeia 
8(1977)5. 

"This raises a question as to whether Joab's involvement with the Ammonites 
lasted all the time covered by the events of 2 Samuel 1 1-12, a period of at least 2 years; 
or might this be an example of deliberate narrative framing without concern for linear 
chronology/ sequence? 

34 Roth, "You are the Man!" 4-5. 



lawlor: the narrative of the ammonite war 205 

10:1-19 A Ammonite War: Revolt by Ammon, only partial 
victory by Israel 

11:1-5 B David and Bathsheba: She begins as "Uriah's 

wife," becomes pregnant by David 

11:6-13 C David and Uriah: David attempts to con- 

ceal his sin by deception of Uriah 

11:1 4— 27a D David arranges for Uriah's death, 

demonstrating his callousness 

11:27b "But the thing which David had 

done was evil in the eyes o/Yhwh. " 

12:1-6 D Nathan's parable: exposing David's 

callousness 

12:7- 15a C Nathan's dialogue of "Thus saith Yhwh": 

David's attempt to conceal his wrongdoing 
will result in the public shame of his own 
wives 

12: 15b— 25 B David's vigil: Bathsheba called "Uriah's wife" 

while child is alive; spoken of as "David's wife" 
after death of child; conceives legitimate son by 
David; one whom "Yhwh loves" 

12:26-31 A Ammonite War: Israel's complete victory over Ammon 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 207-19 



THE INERRANCY DEBATE AND THE 
USE OF SCRIPTURE IN COUNSELING 

Edward E. Hindson 



In attempting to side-step the crucial implications of the current 
inerrancy debate, many evangelicals have tried to suggest that the 
controversy is nothing more than a semantical battle of terminologies 
and definitions. In this article, the inerrancy debate is viewed as it 
affects the role of pastoral counseling. In particular, the author 
examines the issues of "Christian " feminism and homosexuality, 
concluding that a weak view of the Scripture will always lead to a 
weak view of morality. Serious problems result from allowing cultural 
hermeneutics to redefine clear biblical revelation. 



The vast majority of Fundamentalists and Evangelicals alike hold 
to a belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures in their original 
autographs as the proper view of biblical inspiration. 1 Most conser- 
vatives base their position on the teaching of the Scripture itself and 
trace the formulation of the plenary-verbal inspiration concept to the 
crystalization of that position by Warfield and the Princeton theo- 
logians of the nineteenth century. To Fundamentalists, the inerrancy 
of Scripture is ultimately linked to the legitimacy and authority of the 

'For apologetic expositions of Biblical inerrancy see S. Custer, Does Inspiration 
Demand Inerrancy? (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, n.d.); N. Geisler, ed.. 
Inerrancy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979); J. Gerstner, A Bible Inerrancy Primer 
(Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1965); C. Henry, ed.. Revelation and the 
Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1958), and God. Revelation and Authority, 4 
vols. (Waco: Word Books, 1976); R. Lightner, The Saviour and the Scriptures: A Case 
for Biblical Inerrancy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978); J. W. Montgomery ed., God's 
Inerrant Word (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974); J. I. Packer, Fundamentalism 
and the Word of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958); C. Pinnock, Biblical Revelation 
(Chicago: Moody, 1971), and A Defense of Biblical Infallibility (Philadelphia: Presby- 
terian & Reformed, 1975); J. R. Rice, The Bible: Our God-breathed Book (Murfrees- 
boro, TN: Sword of the Lord, 1969); J. Walvoord, ed.. Inspiration and Interpretation 
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957); E. J. Young, Thy Word is Truth (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1963). 



208 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Bible. 2 We view the Bible as being God-breathed and thus free from 
error in all its statements and affirmations. However, today there is a 
debate raging within Evangelical circles regarding the total inerrancy 
of the Scriptures. 3 

I. THE INERRANCY DEBATE 

The recent and explosive evaluation of the left-wing Evangelical 
capitulation to limited errancy by Harold Lindsell has raised strong 
objections to the drift away from inerrancy by many whose historical 
roots go back to the birth of Fundamentalism. 4 In commenting on 
this drift within Evangelicalism from another perspective, Richard 
Quebedeaux observes that the old concepts of infallibility and iner- 
rancy are being reinterpreted to the point that a number of Evan- 
gelical scholars are saying that the teaching of scripture, rather than 
the text, is without error. 5 Some have gone so far as to recognize and 
even categorize the marks of cultural conditioning on Scripture. 6 It is 
the latter issue which has such strong implication in relation to the 
use of scripture in counseling. 



"Young, Thy Word is Truth, 30, states: "If the Bible is not a trustworthy witness of 
its own character, we have no assurance that our Christian faith is founded upon 
Truth." On p. 191 he adds: "It is equally true that if we reject this foundational 
presupposition of Christianity, we shall arrive at results which are hostile to supernatural 
Christianity. If one begins with the presuppositions of unbelief, he will end with 
unbeliefs conclusion." 

3 For departures from the inerrancy position, see D. M. Beegle, Scripture, Tradition, 
and Infallibility (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), and J. Rogers, ed.. Biblical Authority 
(Waco: Word Books, 1977). The latter is an attempted response to Lindsell. G. T. 
Sheppard of Union Theological Seminary states, however: "Despite all of (David) 
Hubbard's argument to the contrary," there is in practice little distinction between his 
brand of "evangelical" and "neoorthodox": in "Biblical Hermeneutics: The Academic 
Language of Evangelical Identity," USQR 32 (1977) 91. 

"This argument is also developed by Harold Lindsell, The Battle for the Bible 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976) 17-40. He raises strong objections to the drift away 
from inerrancy by left-wing Evangelicals, noting that "Fundamentalists and Evangelicals 
(both of whom have been traditionally committed to an infallible or inerrant Scripture) 
have been long noted for their propagation and defense of an infallible Bible" (p. 20). 

5 R. Quebedeaux, The Young Evangelicals (New York: Harper and Row, 1974) 22; 
and The Worldly Evangelicals (New York: Harper and Row, 1978) 84. He describes at 
length the willingness of left-wing Evangelicals to reexamine the whole issue of the 
inspiration of the Bible. 

6 This can be seen readily in the contemporary approaches to cultural hermeneutics 
which hold that Pannenberg has really not successfully answered Lessing and Troeltsch. 
Cf. F. E. Deist, "The Bible— The Word of God," in W. S. Vorster, ed.. Scripture and 
the Use of Scripture (Pretoria: University of South Africa, 1979) 41-70; H. Albert, 
"Theorie, Verstehen und Geschichte," Zeitschrift fur allgemeine Wissenschafstheorie 1 
(1970) 3-23; V. Meja, "The Sociology of Knowledge and the Critique of Ideology," 
Cultural Hermeneutics 3 (1975) 57-68. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 209 

In current European theology we are told that truth is "near at 
hand in the Bible and yet will remain relatively hidden to us." 7 The 
Bible is "inspired" only in that in its human story we experience the 
Word of God as God, in a paradoxical manner, "speaks" to us 
through this volume of human writings. 8 Thus, the ultimate issue of 
the truth of Scripture rests upon the subjective experience of the 
believer. The "Word of God" within the Bible becomes a "canon 
within a canon" and eventually contemporary theologians become 
reluctant to define what biblical content is in fact the "Word of 
God." 9 This leaves the biblical counselor with no absolute standard 
by which to minister God's truth to people. Thus, it is not surprising 
to notice that the word "Scripture" does not even appear in several 
recent works on "Christian Psychology." 10 

II. COUNSELING AND THE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE 

Have you ever tried to sell or promote something in which you 
did not really believe? It is a miserable experience! The salesman who 
has no confidence in his product will reluctantly knock on your door, 
hoping no one will answer. The same is true of the pastor who has no 
real confidence in the Bible or his ability to apply its truth to the lives 
of his people. When the counselee calls for help, he will think up an 
excuse to avoid answering him, or slip out the side door of the study 
while his secretary stalls the distressed soul in the outer office. 

While engaged in a revival crusade in a large metropolitan city a 
few years ago, a dejected pastor came to me after a service and said, 

7 Even the so-called evangelical Dutch theologians Berkouwer, Kuitert, and Van 
Ruler are now clearly leaning in the same direction as Labuschagne. See Kuitert's De 
Realiteit van het Geloof{Kampen: 1968) 164ff.; and Labuschagne's Wat zegt de Bijbel 
in Gods Naam? (Gravenhage: 1977) 60-65. In each of these writers one readily observes 
to varying degrees an interesting mixture of rational objectivity and confessional 
pietism. 

8 Cf. the comments of K. Runia, "The Word of God and the Words of Scripture," 
Vox Reformata 1 1 (1968) 4-1 1; J. D. Watts, "The Historical Approach to the Bible: its 
Development," RevExp 71 (1974) 160-67; and F. E. Deist, Heuristics, Hermeneutics 
and Authority in the Study of Scripture (Port Elizabeth, R.S.A.: University of Port 
Elizabeth, 1979) 1-49. 

9 See the amusing critique by C. Villa-Vicencio in response to B. Engelbrecht's, 
"The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture" in Vorster, Scripture, 108-12, where he 
sarcastically states: "If we are not able to give some rational articulation to what we 
mean by "inspiration", "revelation" or "Word of God" within the Bible — then perhaps 
we ought to drop the concepts altogether . . . For after all, inspiration is possibly no 
more than a theological-cultural imposition on the scriptures." 

10 See M. A. Jeeves, Psychology & Christianity: The View Both Ways (Downers 
Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1976); R. L. Koteskey, Psychology from a Christian Per- 
spective (Nashville: Abingdon, 1980); M. J. Sail, Faith. Psychology and Christian 
Maturity (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975.) 



210 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

"It all seems so empty." "What does?" I asked. He went on to explain 
that he had visited someone in the hospital that day and after 
listening to the person's tale of trouble, he replied (holding up his 
Bible), "God has the answer." He felt like he was deceiving people, 
merely repeating an empty epithet or a corny cliche. "It just isn't 
enough," he muttered. "There must be something more I could have 
said." 

"Of course," I responded, "there is much more that you could 
have said!" What was wrong? He believed the Bible, but he did not 
use it. "What concepts did you teach her? What verses did you give 
her? What principles did you develop from the Scripture that applied 
to her problem?" I asked. Why was he so dejected? Because he had 
failed as a minister and as a counselor. He lost confidence in his 
results because he had no method. That woman needed to be reminded 
of God's sovereignty over sickness and his desire to teach and 
comfort her during this time (cf. 2 Cor 1:3-7). She needed to see this 
time as a meaningful, though difficult, experience in her life. 11 She 
needed truth and he gave her half-truth. The effective Christian 
counselor cannot merely wave the Bible over people as if it were a 
magic wand. He must open it and explain and apply its truths to the 
soul in need. 12 

A. Thy Word is Truth: Confidence in the Message 

In Harold Lindsell's important and controversial book, The 
Battle for the Bible, he raises the question of the trustworthiness of 
Scripture. "Is the Bible a reliable guide to religious knowledge?" he 
asks. 13 If it is, then the minister of God has every reason to hold 
tenaciously to its truths above the prevalent opinion of his con- 
temporaries. 14 Nearly every major school of thought in philosophy 



Even the secular psychiatrist Victor Frankl warns that the counselor not ignore 
the meaningfulness of human suffering and tragic circumstances. He quotes Dubois as 
stating, "The only thing that makes us different from a veterinarian is the clientele." 
See The Doctor and the Soul, trans. R. Winston (New York: Vintage Books, 1973) 
ix.-xxi. 

12 A recent statistical survey has shown that people seek a religious counselor 
because they are looking for spiritual help more than anything else. Cf. E. J. Pasavac 
and B. M. Hartung, "An Exploration into the Reasons People Choose a Pastoral 
Counselor Instead of Another Type of Psychotherapist," Journal of Pastoral Care 31 
(1977)23-31. 

n See his defense of inerrant inspiration in The Battle for the Bible (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1976) 18-27. 

14 This position is strikingly presented by R. J. Rushdoony's analysis of the 
apologetic of Van Til in By What Standard? (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 
1958) 19-64, where he applies the story of the emperor's clothes to the nakedness of 
compromising biblical truth with man's reason. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 21 1 

and psychology rejects the authority of the Bible. 15 Therefore, it is 
virtually impossible and epistemologically disastrous to attempt a 
merger between biblical truths and anti-biblical concepts. This is 
clearly evident among those who have attempted to integrate liberalism 
and orthodoxy in theology. 16 

The pastor as a Christian counselor stands in a unique position, 
having been equipped with a manual of instruction. All genuine 
biblical counseling presupposes the reliability of that book. Apart 
from the message of God's truth, Charles Ping is right when he refers 
to religious language as "meaningful nonsense." 17 The minister of that 
word is more than an integrator of psychology and religion; he is the 
interpreter and applicator of that word. 18 Therefore, all of his theo- 
logical studies and their practical application rest upon his view of the 
Bible. 

Edward J. Young raised the issue of the dependability of Scripture 
and related it to applied theology when he warned: "If, therefore, the 
Church today takes the wrong turning and finds herself in the land of 
despair and doubt, she has not harkened to the Guidebook, but has 
allowed herself to be deceived by signposts with which her enemy has 
tampered." 19 



l5 Cf. C. G. Jung, Psychology and Religion (New Haven: Yale University, 1938) 
presents "phenomenology" as the absolute standard. "Speaking for instance of the 
motive of the virgin birth, psychology is only concerned with the fact that there is such 
an idea, but it is not concerned with the question of whether such an idea is true or 
false in any other sense" (p. 3). See also A. Sabatier, Outlines of a Philosophy of 
Religion Based on Psychology and History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957) 30- 
66, who rejects the validity of biblical revelation as a "psychological illusion." 

16 See the excellent discussion of Rowley's, Brunner's, and Niebuhr's approaches to 
Scripture in J. F. Walvoord, ed., Inspiration and Interpretation (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1957) 190-252. Carnell's statement is worth remembering: "Neo-Orthodoxy 
judges the Bible by dialectical insights; orthodoxy judges dialectical insights by the 
Bible." (p. 252). 

17 C. J. Ping, Meaningful Nonsense (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1966). He 
argues against all attempts to make "the language of faith" objectively meaningful. 
Thus, he puts all religious terminology into what Francis Schaeffer likes to call the 
"upper story" of verification (cf. Escape From Reason [Chicago: InterVarsity, 1968], 
chaps. 2-3). 

18 Cf. the early attempt at this by J. G. McKenzie (Psychology, Psychotherapy and 
Evangelism [New York: Macmillan, 1941]). 

19 E. J. Young, Thy Word is Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965) 13-14. For 
other clear expositions of the doctrines of Scripture as related to inspiration, cf. N. B. 
Stonehouse and P. Woolley, eds., The Infallible Word (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and 
Reformed, 1946); C. F. H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1958); C. Van Til, The Protestant Doctrine of Scripture (den Dulk Christian Founda- 
tion, 1967); C. H. Pinnock, Biblical Revelation (Chicago: Moody, 1971); J. W. 
Montgomery, ed., God's Inerrant Word (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1974). 



212 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

John Warwick Montgomery has analyzed the modern preacher 
from the archetype of Rev. Eccles in John Updike's novel, Rabbit, 
Run, where the minister feels deeply the needs of frustrated modern 
man, but is totally incapable of meeting those needs because he has 
no authoritative word of judgment or grace to offer him. 20 Certainly 
such a biblically impoverished ecclesiastic has little real help to offer 
those with real problems. Thus, the ultimate origin of the erroneous 
idea that the pastor is not qualified to counsel has arisen from a 
theological lack of confidence in the power of Scripture. This leaves 
the so-called minister a victim of professional secular psychologists as 
his only course of help. 21 The pastor's escape from responsibility is: 
"See a psychiatrist." The psychiatrist's escape from responsibility is: 
"See a pharmacist." 

The Bible itself claims to be a divine message from God. It is not 
"the" truth; it is truth! All truth may not be in the Bible, but all that 
is in the Bible is true. The Bible itself is the standard of what is in fact 
true. 22 Jesus himself prayed, "Sanctify them through thy word: thy 
word is truth" (John 17:17). 23 He proclaimed that his words were not 
his own, "but the Father's which sent me" (John 14:24). The psalmist 
sang, "The words of the Lord are pure words as silver tried in a 
furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Ps 12:6). The Apostle Paul 
wrote: ". . . but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually 
worketh also in you that believe" (1 Thess 2:13). That the Scriptures 
claim to be, and that Jesus Christ believed them to be, the infallible 
revelation of God is a matter beyond dispute. 24 

The Bible is indispensable in our knowledge of God and of his 
will. Young urged: "A return to the Bible is the greatest need of our 
day . . . unless the church is willing to hear the Word of God, she will 
soon cease to be the church of the living God." 25 

20 See, "Biblical Inerrancy: What Is at Stake?" in God's Inerrant Word, 15. 
Montgomery's crisp analyses of contemporary theology gets beyond the theoretical to 
the practical and are most helpful. 

21 See the interesting comments of J. I. Packer in the Foreward to E. Hindson, ed.. 
Introduction to Puritan Theolgoy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1976) 13; he refers to the 
confused pastor "who has no better remedy than to refer them to a psychiatrist!" 

"Otherwise, the standard of truth is nothing more than a constantly varying 
tradition of men (e.g., cf. F. F. Bruce and E. G. Rupp, eds., Holy Book and Holy 
Tradition [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968]). 

"See discussion of Jesus' use of OT Scripture in R. T. France, Jesus and the Old 
Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1971), esp. chap. 5. 

24 Cf. Lindsell's quotation of Kirsopp Lake, who admits that the liberals have 
departed from the traditional view of the church, not the fundamentalists. "The Bible 
and the coropus theologicum of the church is on the fundamentalist side" {Battle for 
the Bible, 19). Even an honest liberal has to admit that the Bible clearly claims to be 
the Word of God. 

"Young, Thy Word is Truth, 273. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 213 

B. Thy Word Works: Confidence in Counseling 

If the Bible is the inspired word of God, then it will prove to be 
so in that it fulfills its claims and promises. I once sat next to a young 
college student on a flight from Indianapolis to Detroit. We began 
talking about religion and the Bible. After listening to the claims of 
Scripture, he asked, "But how do you know for sure that the Bible is 
true?" I explained that if he took a course in chemistry and the 
textbook claimed that the mixture of two chemicals would produce a 
certain result, he could only prove that for certain by personal 
experimentation. "How could you know the book was correct?" I 
asked. "When I did what it said," he replied, "it would work." "That 
is exactly how you can know that the Bible is true," I announced. 
"When you do what it says, it works!" 

The Bible, I further explained, tells me about a Person who can 
change my life by faith in him alone. When I did what the Book said, 
I experienced exactly what it claimed I would: the assurance of 
eternal life and the forgiveness of sin. 

Not only does the Bible claim to prepare men for heaven but for 
life on earth as well. The significance of the Sermon on the Mount is 
that it is a spiritual message designed to equip man to live on earth. 
This is also emphasized in the well-known passage from Paul: "All 
scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, 
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the 
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good 
works" (2 Tim 3:16-17). The "man of God" in the context is the 
minister of God's word. He has been fully equipped by that word to 
teach, reprove, correct, and instruct the people of God. The Christian 
counselor must operate in the confidence that the Bible works because 
it is truth. 

It is exactly in this regard that Jay Adams has challenged self- 
styled "Christian counseling" which wants the Bible as a "tack-on" to 
its ideas, but not as the sole foundation of its methodology. It is with 
complete confidence that God has designed the Scriptures to speak to 
the inner emotional and spiritual needs of man that this article has 
been prepared to apply a specific body of Scripture to those needs 
through the means of nouthetic counseling. 

For Adams, the use of Scripture in counseling involves an 
interaction of five essential factors: 26 



J. Adams, The Use of the Scriptures in Counseling (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & 
Reformed, 1975) 17ff. This book represents his fullest explanation and defense of 
scriptural counseling. No wonder he quotes Mowrer's now famous quip: "Has evangeli- 
cal religion sold its birthright for a mess of psychological pottage?" See The Crisis in 
Psychology and Religion (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1961) 60. 



214 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

1. A biblical understanding of the counselee's problem, from . . . 

2. A clear understanding of the Holy Spirit's telos in scriptural passages 
appropriate to both the problem and the solution, and . . . 

3. A meeting of man's problem and God's full solution in counseling, 
according to . . . 

4. The formulation of a biblical plan of action, leading toward . . . 

5. Commitment to scriptural action by the counselee. 

Nouthetic counseling requires a prior knowledge of Scripture on 
the part of the counselor. He must be "thoroughly furnished" in order 
to teach, reprove, correct, and instruct the counselee. It is the fear 
that the Bible does not have the answer to the problem that forces 
many pastoral couselors to abandon it in favor of some other 
approach. This practice must be stopped before the pastoral counselor 
finds himself adrift in a maelstrom of conflict and confusion. 

Most non-Christian and non-biblical counseling errs on the very 
first point of Adams's scheme. It fails to understand the counselee's 
problem biblically and hence is able neither to diagnose it adequately 
nor to treat if effectively. The basic understanding of man is essential 
to one's personality theory and method of therapy. Thus, the use of 
Scripture in nouthetic counseling could just as easily be called "Bible 
therapy"! 

As the counselor studies the principles of the Bible, the Holy 
Spirit is building a reserve bank of divine truth from which he may 
draw during the counseling process. The counselee also has the 
opportunity to learn from these truths himself as he studies and 
applies his "homework" assignment in Scripture. 

Nouthetic counseling is really Christian or biblical counseling. 
Adams has emphasized the word "nouthetic" simply to distinguish a 
system of biblically oriented counseling in contrast to semi-secularized, 
quasi-christianized, so-called Christian counseling. 27 Nouthetic coun- 
seling takes seriously the biblical commands to "admonish," "teach," 
"exhort," "reprove," "correct," "instruct." The Greek word vouGrjorc; 
focuses upon confrontation of the client by the counselor, with the 
aim of bringing about repentant change of behavior. The fundamental 

27 See his comments in What About Nouthetic Counseling? (Phillipsburg, N.J.: 
Presbyterian & Reformed, 1976) 1-6. he notes, for example, that the term vouGrioia is 
strictly Pauline, whereas the Johannine vocabulary is 7iapctKXfJTOc;. 

28 This issue has been popularized by P. K. Jewett (Man as Male and Female 
[Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975]); L. Scanzoni and N. Hardesty {All We're Meant To 
&>[Waco: Word, 1975]); and V. Mollenkott, ( Women, Men. and the Bible [Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1977]). However, its methodology rests upon the neo-orthodox concept of 
cultural hermeneutics, i.e., the messages of the Bible were culturally-conditioned by the 
human experience and cultural reactions of the writers of scripture. For background, 
see K. Wolff, "Introduction to Fifty Years of 'Sociology of Knowledge'," Cultural 
Hermeneutics 3 (1975) 1-5. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 215 

purpose of nouthetic confrontation is to effect personality and 
character change by the power of the Holy Spirit using the inspired 
Word of God to speak through the counselor to the counselee. 
Nouthetic counseling is an applied confrontation with the inspired 
truths and principles of Scripture. 

III. counseling and cultural contextualization 

Probably the most crucial issue of the inerrancy debate relating 
to the area of Christian counseling is the attempt of the so-called 
"Biblical Feminists" to discount the implications of scriptural state- 
ments regarding the male-female relationship as it is defined in the 
Bible. 28 Thus, the "Biblical feminists" encourage a hermeneutic of 
"deculturization," arguing that one cannot "absolutize the culture in 
which the Bible was written." 29 Hence, the "cultural contamination" 
of the biblical writers leaves their statements open to reinterpretation 
in light of a different culture which exists today. That which is judged 
to be culturally conditioned is then rejected as "not binding" on 
today's believer. 30 

A. Cultural Discrepancies 

While Jewett affirms the "inspiration" of Scripture, he definitely 
allows for some discrepancy between God's eternal "Word" and the 
words of the biblical writers. 31 In wrestling with the apparent contra- 
dictions between what he views as the biblical view of women and St. 
Paul's emphasis upon female submission, Jewett concludes that Paul's 
human limitations dominate in the passages that teach female subor- 
dination. 32 

In her evaluation of their position Susan Foh states: 

To summarize, the biblical feminists see irreconcilable contradictions in 
the Bible's teaching on women. These contradictions are resolved by 
acknowledging that the Bible reflects human limitations. The culture in 
biblical times was patriarchal, and the men who wrote the Bible were 
inextricably influenced by their culture . . . Therefore, the biblical femi- 
nists reason, we must remove cultural elements from the Bible to 
recover God's truth; we must deculturize the Bible. 33 

29 Mollenkott, Women. Men, and the Bible, 92. 

30 Scanzoni and Hardesty, All We're Meant to Be, 19. 

31 Jewett, Man as Male and Female, 133-35. 

"ibid., 135. 

33 See the excellent biblical evaluation of Susan Foh, Women and the Word of 
God: A Response to Biblical Feminism (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979) 7. She has 
undoubtedly provided the most thorough biblical study of the feminist issue yet 
written. She rests her case upon a genuine appreciation of the inerrant statements of 
the Scripture. 



216 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Thus, the "Biblical Feminists" actually carry Barth's exposition 
of Eph 5:21-33 even further than he intended by advocating a total 
reversability of male/ female roles. 34 The more liberal "Christian 
Feminists" go further yet, denying the legitimacy of any sexual 
identity and advocating a non-divine, fallible Christ. 35 

In the realm of Christian counseling, such an approach to the 
authority and meaning of Scripture becomes ludicrous. The Biblical 
statements may be flatly rejected as being propositional and may be 
reinterpreted solely in the light of one's contemporary culture. Thus, 
culture, not the Scripture, becomes the ultimate authority in one's 
life. However, a sound exegesis of biblical passages reveals just the 
opposite! The Scripture consistently speaks against the culture of its 
day. 36 Therefore, it is tragic to see the unwitting capitulation of 
writers such as Helen Beard who adopt Jewett's reasoning as an 
excuse for "elevating" women beyond the "limitations of culturally- 
conditioned" Scripture in order to free them for a more "positive 
ministry." 37 

An honest study of the Scripture would never raise such issues as 
marital role reversal or the ordination of women. These have arisen 
within certain Christian circles only because they are related to issues 
in the wider secular culture. The Church has always stood uniquely in 
her non-conformity to culture. She has had to place revelation over 
culture in order to determine God's sure word of direction in moral 
and ethical issues. Like the first-century church, we dare not base our 
Christian ethics upon a fallible contemporary culture but upon the 
unchanging principles of God's inerrant word. 

B. Moral Discrepancies 

The legality and non-legality of specific sexual acts is currently a 
very controversial topic. In every era there have been conservative 
people who held traditional beliefs about the dignity of the family. 
Based upon the heritage of the Judaeo-Christian ethic, they have 
believed that forms of sexual activity which violate the monogamous 
male/ female relationship are injurious to the health of society and, 
therefore, should be declared unlawful. 



34 See Jewett, Man as Male and Female, 83. 

35 See the extreme comments of Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father: Toward a 
Philosophy of Women's Liberation (Boston: Beacon, 1973) 69-70. 

36 Jesus' statements about various Jewish customs alone are ample testimony (e.g., 
possessions, the religious establishment, marriage, divorce, sabbath observance, etc.). 

37 See H. Beard, Women in Ministry Today (Plainfield, N.J.: Logos International, 
1980) 127-55. She especially commends the ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman and Mother 
Teresa. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 217 

Whereas adultery is now looked upon by many as an "unfor- 
tunate disloyalty," it is called an act of sin in the Bible (1 Cor 6:18). 
Homosexuality is equally condemned in both the OT and NT (Deut 
23:17; Rom 1:26-28). Incest was prohibited by the Law of Moses 
(Lev 20:1 1-17) and denounced by the Apostle Paul (1 Cor 5:1-5). 

1. Biblical Ethics Vs. Natural Ethics 

To biblically committed people the ultimate issue in ethics is that of 
revealed ethics as opposed to natural ethics. Thus, Catholics, Protes- 
tants, and Jews acknowledge a common ethic based upon theism 
(belief in God). The Judaeo-Christian theistic ethic finds its basis in 
the OT and NT scriptures. Cornelius Van Til clarifies this matter, 
stating: "What we mean is that the Old and the New Testaments 
together contain the special revelation of God to the sinner, without 
which we could have not true ethical interpretation of life at all." 38 

Likewise, the theist's view of the function of law is based upon 
the legal-ethical commands of God as revealed to the writers of 
Scripture. Russell Kirk notes that even Plato argued that the achieve- 
ment of justice could not be gained by following nature (as some 
sophits had declared); rather, it could be found only by obeying the 
vouoc; (law). 39 The question is, whose law? Are we to acknowledge the 
laws of God as revealed in Scripture or the general consensus of 
society? 

The maintenance of any society depends upon the conscious 
holding to a enforcing of some form of law. The function of law is 
essential to any society's stability and perpetuity. Jewish and Christian 
concepts of law go back to the self-revelation of God to man. "Thou 
shalt not" is the basis of divine law from the opening chapters of the 
Bible. It is reinforced in the commands of Moses which governed 
every aspect of Jewish life and in the teachings of Jesus who urged his 
followers: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them . . . 
teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded 
you" (Matt 28:19-20). Thus, human consent to any matter is irrelevant 
if it does not bear the sanction of God's approval. 

"Cornelius Van Til;, Christian Theistic Ethics (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and 
Reformed, 1974) 15. Van Til discusses at length the epistomological presuppositions of 
theistic ethics arguing that the "objective" morality of the idealist is at the bottom as 
subjective as the "subjective" morality of the pragmatist! 

"See the discussion of Russell Kirk, The Roots of American Order (La Salle: Open 
Courts, 1974) chap. 1. He traces the origin of all American ethical law to the concept of 
ultimate truth, without which, he argues, there can be no consistent legal system. Cf. 
also the excellent study of biblical ethics by John Murray, Principles of Conduct 
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964). He observes that the proper study of Christian ethics 
is not merely an empirical survey of Christian behavior but rather the delineation of an 
ethical manner of life based upon Biblical revelation. 



218 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

2. "Christian" Homosexuality and the Bible 

In both liberal and evangelical circles the issue of homosexuals 
demanding sanction by the church has become a volatile issue. 40 In 
some denominations, homosexuals have even demanded acceptance 
into ordination of the professional clergy. 41 Some have gone so far as 
to use the contextualization of culture as an argument for reinterpret- 
ing the Biblical statements about homosexuality as merely reflecting 
an overt heterosexual bias against homosexuals. 42 One author argues 
that Paul's restrictions regarding homosexuals in Romans 1 are based 
upon a pro-Roman (anti-Greek) cultural disposition and not the 
heart of a loving God. 43 Thus, apostolic "opinions" are neither 
applicable to nor infallible for today's society. Hudson argues: 

1. Man did not fully understand or comprehend the "sexual nature" of 
man before or during the time of Paul's apostolic ministry. 

2. Homosexuality was a forbidden practice of the Jews, and so 
traditionally held by Christians as well. 

3. Prior to Paul's conversion he was a member of the Pharisees . . . 
which oriented his thinking about "right and wrong" practices for 
conduct. 

4. Jesus did not speak on the subject of homosexuality. 

5. Therefore, Paul was in error when he made culturally-conditioned 
statements about homosexuals without any clear revelation from 
God. 44 

The basis of this type of reasoning denies the legitimate inspiration 
of Scripture and the inerrancy of its statements on moral issues. The 
implications for Christian counseling are overwhelming. Since coun- 
seling involves the interpretation and application of the scriptures to 
moral and ethical issues, it is of vital importance that one's doctrine 



For surveys of the issue, see G. L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality: A Biblical View 
(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978); R. F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church (Old 
Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1978); T. La Haye, The Unhappy Gays (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 
1978); P. Morris, Shadow of Sodom (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1978); J. White, Eros 
Defiled: the Christian and Sexual Sin (Downers Grove, IL: Inter- Varsity, 1978). 

4, See the discussion of homosexuality and church polity in D. Williams, The Bond 
that Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church? (Los Angeles: BIM, 1978). 

42 The most thorough representative of this approach is Billy Hudson, Christian 
Homosexuality (North Hollywood, CA: Now Library, 1975). He argues extensively 
that God is "gay," that Christianity and homosexuality are compatible," that homo- 
sexuality is a predetermined fate in life. 

43 See the statements of D. S. Baily, Homosexuality and the Western Christian 
Tradition (London: Longmans, 1955), and J. McNeill, The Church and the Homosexual 
(Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1976) 95ff. 

""Hudson, Christian Homosexuality, 166-67. 



hindson: inerrancy and counseling 219 

of inerrant inspiration form the basis of his approach to counseling. 
If the Bible is not really the Word of God, then propositional 
revelation is not binding upon the Church. Thus, every generation 
could subjectively interpret for itself what Biblical concepts it would 
accept as legitimate for its culture. 

The Bible is the basis of all Christian ministry. 45 Its doctrines 
form the standard of conduct for the Church. With these as his 
foundation, the pastoral counselor must reprove, correct, and instruct 
(2 Tim 3:16). The time has come for an avalanche of biblical 
materials for use in counseling. It is time the pastor equipped with the 
inerrant Word of God began using it with confidence to the glory of 
God and the benefit of his congregation. 



45 On the biblical basis of the Christian counseling ministry, see L. Crabb, 
Principles of Biblical Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975); Effective Biblical 
Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977) 147-48; and W. O. Ward, The Bible in 
Counseling (Chicago: Moody, 1977) 22-24; J. Adams, "Counseling and Special Revela- 
tion," in More Than Redemption: A Theology of Christian Counseling, 16-37; C. 
Narramore, "The Use of the Scripture in Counseling," in The Psychology of Counseling 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973) 237-73; and to a lesser degree G. Collins, "The 
Church and Counseling," in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Waco: 
Word, 1980) 13-21 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 221-33 



THE PROMISE OF THE ARRIVAL 

OF ELIJAH IN MALACHI 

AND THE GOSPELS 

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. 



Was John the Baptist the fulfillment of Malachi's prediction 
about Elijah the prophet who was to come before that great day of 
the Lord comes? The hermeneutical solution to this question is 
offered in a generic fulfillment, or what the older theologians called 
the novissima. Therefore, Elijah has come "in the spirit and power" 
witnessed in John the Baptist, and will yet come in the future. 
Generic prophecy has three foci: (1) the revelatory word, (2) all 
intervening historical events which perpetuate that word, and (3) the 
generic wholeness (one sense or meaning) in which the final or 
ultimate fulfillment participates in all the earnests that occupied the 
interim between the original revelatory word and this climactic 
realization. 



The NT's interest in the prophet Elijah may be easily assessed 
from the fact that he is the most frequently mentioned OT figure 
in the NT after Moses (80 times), Abraham (73), and David (59); 
Elijah's name appears 29 or 30 times. 1 

Even more significant, however, are the six major and explicit 
references to Elijah in the Synoptic Gospels. There, some of Jesus' 
contemporaries identified our Lord — in the second of three opinions — 
as Elijah (Mark 6:14-16; Luke 9:7-9). Jesus' disciples were also aware 
of this popular confusion, for they too repeated it (Matt 16:13-20; 
Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21). This connection between Jesus and 
Elijah continued to hold its grip on many even up to the time of the 
crucifixion, for those who heard Jesus' fourth word from the cross 
thought he was calling on Elijah to rescue him (Matt 27:45-49; Mark 



'J. Jeremias, "7^(e)ia<;," TDNT2 (1964) 934. The disparity of 29 or 30 is due to a 
textual problem in Luke 9:54. 



222 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

15:33-36). And who should appear on the mount of transfiguration 
but Moses and Elijah, talking to Jesus (Matt 17:1-19; Mark 9:2-10; 
Luke 9:28-36)? 

But there were two other references in the Synoptics which 
referred to a future coming of Elijah. One came when Jesus' disciples 
asked why the scribes claimed it was necessary that Elijah had to 
come first (Matt 17:10-13; Mark 9:11-13). Jesus responded that 
"Elijah had come" and said it in such a way that the disciples knew 
that he meant he was John the Baptist. If any doubt remained, Jesus 
said just that in Matt 1 1:14 — "he is Elijah, the one who was to come." 

However, when one turns from the Synoptics to the Fourth 
Gospel, none of these six references are present. Instead, we find 
John categorically denying that he was either Christ, "that [Mosaic] 
prophet," or Elijah (John 1:21, 25)! John's clear disavowal is so stark 
by way of contrast with the way he is presented in the Synoptics that 
the Synoptics and John appear to contradict one another flatly. What 
explanation can be offered for this phenomenon? And what impact 
does it have on the question of the NT author's use of OT citations? 

I. THE ISSUES 

At stake in this discussion are three critical points of tension: (1) 
the identity of that coming messenger or future prophet named 
Elijah, (2) the time of his coming, and (3) the task(s) assigned to him. 
Each of these three questions raises a number of hermeneutical and 
theological issues that have left their mark on various traditions of 
interpretation. 

However, even before these three tension points have been 
joined, perhaps there is a prior question which asks if Elijah's coming 
is at all connected with the coming of the Messiah. A recent study by 
Faierstein concludes that: 

. . . contrary to the accepted scholarly consensus, almost no evidence 
has been preserved which indicates that the concept of Elijah as 
forerunner of the Messiah was widely known or accepted in the first 
century c.E. . . . The only datum ... is the baraitha in b. Erubin 43a-b, 
a text of the early third century c.E. . . . The further possibility, that the 
concept of Elijah as forerunner is a novum in the NT must also be 



2 Morris M. Faierstein, "Why Do the Scribes Say That Elijah Must Come First?" 
JBL 100 (1981) 86. John H. Hughes, "John the Baptist: The Forerunner of God 
Himself," NovT 14 (1972) 212 is of the same opinion: "There is no reliable pre- 
Christian evidence for the belief that Elijah was to be the forerunner of the Messiah, 
and this helps support the suggestion that the conception originated with Jesus." [!] 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 223 

Faierstein, while conveniently avoiding the strong evidence of Mai 3:1; 
4:4-5 and the repeated NT allusions, tends to assign either a post- 
Christian date or to reserve judgment on a whole series of evidences 
to the contrary from the Jewish community. Certainly the Qumran 
fragment J. Starcky cited (Ikn D slh Plyh qd[m], "therefore 1 will send 
Elijah befo[re]. . . .") is incomplete; 3 but it should have reminded 
Faierstein to take another look at Mai 3:1; 4:4-5 [Heb 3:24-25]. 
Faierstein also sets aside the same eighteen rabbinic texts which 
L. Ginzberg analyzes differently. 

Now, in no fewer than eighteen passages in the Talmud, Elijah appears 
as one who, in his capacity of precursor of the Messiah, will settle all 
doubts on matters of ritual and judicial. 4 

But the locus classicus of these eighteen, m. c Ed. 8.7, is exceptionally 
clear. Elijah would establish legitimate Jewish descent, family har- 
mony, and resolve differences of opinion and religious controversies. 
He would do all this, says m. c Ed. 8.7 ". . . as it is written, Behold I 
will send you Elijah, the prophet . . . and he shall turn the heart of the 
fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers." 5 
Once again, we are brought back to the Malachi texts if we are to 
make any decision on what was normative either for pre-Christian 
Judaism or the NT itself. To this day, Judaism continues to reserve 
for Elijah a distinguished place and loosely to relate it to their fading 
expectation of the coming of the Messiah. This can best be seen in the 
cup of Elijah and the seat reserved for him at every Passover meal. 
The hope and prayer of every Jew at the conclusion of the Passover — 
"next year in Jerusalem" — is one piece of a larger picture of the 
coming Messianic era. And at the heart of it remains the open door 
for the new Elijah. 

II. malachi 3:1; 4:4-5 

A. The Identity of 'My Messenger' 

God's answer to the impious complaints of the wicked men and 
women of Malachi's day who mockingly sneered: "Where is the God 
of justice?" was to send his messenger to prepare the way for the God 



3 J. Starcky, "Les Quatre Etapes du Messianisme a Qumran," RB 70 (1963) 489- 
505. The fragment is 4QarP. See p. 498 as cited in Faierstein, "Elijah Must Come 
First?" 80, nn. 33-34. 

4 L. Ginzberg, An Unknown Jewish Sect (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 
1976) 212. These 18 texts all end 18 talmudic discussions and are known by the term 
teyqu which came to mean "The Tishbite will resolve difficulties and problems." 
Ginzberg lists the location of these 18 passages in n. 14 on p. 212. 



224 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

for whom they alllegedly searched. He did not promise merely a 
messenger, but one that was already familiar to them from the 
informing theology of Isa 40:3, for the words used to describe this 
messenger were the same as those used there: he was "to prepare the 
way." 

No doubt the words "my messenger" ( , '?N'? ? !?) were intended to be 
both a play on the name of the prophet Malachi and prophetic of a 
future prophet who would continue his same work. But he was 
certainly to be an earthly messenger and not a heavenly being. This 
can be demonstrated from three lines of evidence: (1) in Isaiah the 
voice which called for the preparation of the nation came from 
someone in the nation itself; (2) this same messenger in Mai 3:1 is 
associated with Elijah the prophet in Mai 4:5; and (3) he is strongly 
contrasted with "The Lord," "even the messenger of the covenant" in 
Mal3:l. 6 

Thus this messenger cannot be the death angel, as the Jewish 
commentator Jarchi conjectured, 7 or an angel from heaven as another 
Jewish commentator Kimchi alleged from Exod 23:20, a passage 
which finds its context in a time when Israel was being prepared for a 
journey into the desert. God's mouthpiece was an earthly proclaimer. 

B. The Identity of the Lord and the Messenger of the Covenant 

"The Lord" (ptxn) can only refer to God when used with the 
article. 8 That he is divine personage is also evident from these 
additional facts: he answers to the question of Mai 2:17, "Where is 
the God of justice?" (2) he comes to "his temple" (Mai 3:1) and thus 
he is the owner of that house in which he promised to dwell; and 
(3) he is also named the "Messenger of the covenant" (n , *13n ^kVe). 
Furthermore, it is clear from passages such as Zech 4:14 and 6:5, 
"pIX of the whole earth," that p"tX is used interchangeably with 
Yahweh. 9 

The title "Angel or Messenger of the Covenant," is found nowhere 
else in the OT. Nevertheless, the title is very reminiscent of the more 



5 Herbert Danby, The Mishnah (London: Oxford University, 1958) 437 [italics his]. 

6 These three arguments are substantially those of E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology 
of the Old Testament (trans. James Martin) (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1875) 4.164. 

7 R. Cashdan, Soncino Books of the Bible: The Twelve Prophets (ed. A. Cohen; 
London: Soncino, 1948) 349. 

8 So argues T. V. Moore {The Prophets of the Restoration: Haggai, Zechariah and 
Malachi [New York: Robert Carter and Bros., 1856] 376). He refers to Exod 23:17; 
34:23; Isa 1:24; 3:1; 10:16, 33; Mai 1:12, etc. In Dan 9:17 Jiixn seems to refer to the 
Son. 

9 So argues Joyce G. Baldwin {Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi [Tyndale Old 
Testament; 1). 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 225 

frequently used, "Angel of the Lord." That was the same "Angel" 
who had redeemed Israel out of the land of Egypt (Exod 3:6), had 
gone before the army as -they crossed the Red Sea (Exod 14:19), 
led Israel through the wilderness (Exod 23:20) and filled the temple 
with his glory. He was one and the same as Yahweh himself. This 
Angel was God's own self-revelation, the pre-incarnate Christ of the 
numerous OT Christophanies. 10 He is the same one discussed in Exod 
23:20-23; ("Behold, I send an Angel . . . My name is in him") 33:15 
("My Presence [or face] shall go with you") and Isa 63:9 (The Angel 
of his Presence or face"). 

The covenant of which he is the messenger is the same one 
anciently made with Israel (Exod 25:8; Lev 26:11-12; Deut 4:23; Isa 
33:14) and later renewed in Jer 31:31-34 as repeated in Heb 8:7-13 
and 9:15. Therefore, while the covenant was a single plan of God for 
all ages, this context addressed mainly the Levitical priesthood (Mai 
1:6-2:9) and the nation Israel (Mai 2:11; 3:5, 8) for violating that 
covenant relationship. 

Still, it must be stressed that there are not two persons represented 
in "The Lord" and the "Messenger of the Covenant" but only one, as 
is proven by the singular form of "come" (N2). 11 Thus the passage 
mentions only two persons: "The Lord" and the preparing messenger. 

C. The Connection Between the Announcer's Task and 
the Work of the Lord 

The preparing messenger was "to clear the way before [the 
Lord]." The striking similarity between this expression (nJD 1 ? ^T\ H3S1) 
and that found in Isa 40:3, (mrp ^Tr 13D) 57:14 and 62:10 is too strong 
to be accidental. The resemblance between Isaiah and Malachi was 
drawn out even to the omission of the article from "]T\, "way"; the 
only difference is that in Malachi the messenger is to prepare the way 
while in Isaiah the servants of the Lord are urged to prepare the road. 

Under the oriental figure of an epiphany or arrival of the 
reigning monarch, the text urged for a similar removal of all spiritual, 
moral, and ethical impediments in preparation for the arrival of the 
King of Glory. Whenever a king would visit a village, the roadway 
would be straightened, leveled, and all stones and obstacles removed 
from the road that the king would take as he came to visit the town. 
The only other instance of this expression is in Ps 80:9 [Heb 10]: rP3S 
H^dV, "You cleared [the ground] before it [= the vine (or the nation 



See W. C. Kaiser, Jr., Toward an Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1978) pp. 85, 120, 257-58. See references to the "Angel of the Lord" in 
such texts as Gen 16:7; 22:11, 15; Judg 2:1; 6:11, 14. 

"So argues E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology, 4.168. 



226 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Israel) brought out from the land of Egypt]." Once again, however, it 
was necessary to do some clearing away as a preparation before the 
nation Israel, here represented as a vine, was to be able to be planted 
and to take deep root in the land. 

This future messenger would likewise clear out the rubbish, 
obstacles, and impediments "before me" — the same one who was iden- 
tified in the next sentence as "The Lord," "even the Messenger of the 
Covenant." The equation of these three terms can be argued for even 
more convincingly when it is noticed that the waw, "and," which 
introduces the phrase "and the messenger of the covenant whom you 
desire" is an epexegetical waw used in apposition to the phrase "The 
Lord whom you are seeking." Therefore we translate the whole verse: 

Behold, I will send my messenger. He will clear the way ahead of me. 
Suddenly, the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple; 
even the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come, says 
the Lord of hosts. 

Over against this preparatory work, the Lord and Messenger of 
the Covenant was to arrive "suddenly" (DXns) at his temple. The 
people had longed for the coming of God in judgment as a redress to 
all wrongs (Mai 2:17). Indeed, he would come, but it would be 
"unexpectedly." 12 The ungodly hoped for a temporal deliverer, but 
Mai 3:2 warned that most would not be able to stand when that day 
of judgment came. Not only would the heathen gentiles be judged, 
but so too would the ungodly in Israel. It would appear that the final 
judgment associated with the second advent has been blended in this 
passage with the Lord's arrival in his first advent. It was necessary to 
be prepared for both! 

D. The Identity of Elijah the Prophet 

Does Malachi expect the Tishbite to reappear personally on the 
earth again? It would not appear so, for Mai 4:5-6 specifically said, 
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the n prophet, before the great and 
terrible day of the Lord comes." Only the LXX reads "Elijah the 
Tishbite." The reason Elijah was selected is, (1) he was head of the 
prophetic order in the nation Israel and (2) many of his successors 

l2 T. Laetsch (Bible Commentary: The Minor Prophets [St. Louis: Concordia, 
1956] 531) says "Suddenly, pit^om, is never used to denote immediacy; it always means 
unexpectedly, regardless of the lapse of time (Joshua 10:9; 1 1:7; Num. 12:4; Ps. 64:5, 8, 
A. V. 4, 7; Prov. 3:25; 6:15; Isa. 47:1 1; Jer. 4:20, etc.)." 

13 Jack Willsey ("The Coming of Elijah: An Interpretation of Malachi 4:5," 
[unpublished Master's disseration, San Francisco Conservative Baptist Theological 
Seminary, 1969] 31) notes that the use of the article with K^J refers "to Elijah: 
specifically, the Elijah who was known to the readers as the prophet (as opposed to any 
other possible Elijah)." 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 227 

indirectly received the same spirit and power that divinely was 
granted to him. There was, as it were, a successive endowment of his 
gifts, power, and spirit to those who followed in his train. 

This phenomenon is known already in the OT, for 2 Chr 21:12 
mentions "a writing from Elijah the prophet" during the reign of King 
Jehoram when Elijah had already been in heaven for many years. 
Furthermore, many of the acts predicted by Elijah were actually 
carried out by Elisha (2 Kgs 8:13) and one of the younger prophets 
(2 Kgs 9:13). Indeed, Elisha had asked for a double portion, the 
portion of the firstborn (imi3, 2 Kgs 2:9), as his spiritual inheritance 
from Elijah. Thus, just as the spirit of Moses came on the seventy 
elders (Num 11:25) so the "spirit of Elijah" 14 rested on Elisha" 
(2 Kgs 2:15). 

We are to expect a literal return of Elijah no more than we 
expect a literal return of David as the future king over Israel. Surely 
passages like Jer 30:19; Hos 3:5; Ezek 34:23; and 37:24 promise a new 
David. But it is universally held that this new David is none other 
than the Messiah himself who comes in the office, line, and promise 
of David. Consequently, we argue that the new Elijah will be endowed 
with this same spirit and power without being the actual Elijah who 
was sent back long after his translation to heaven. 

E. The Connection Between Elijah and the Forerunner 

There can be little doubt that Elijah the prophet is one and the 
same as the messenger whom the Lord will send to prepare the way 
before him. Mai 4:5 marks the third great "Behold" in this book (3:1; 
4:1, and here) and therefore carries our mind and eye back to the 
other two passages. A second similarity is to found in the participial 
phrase, "I am sending." There is also, in the third place, a similarity 
of mission; for both the verbs "to clear the way" (niJD) and "to 
restore" (2W) are based on verbs which also mean "to turn" and 
hence imply a repentance or turning away from evil and a turning 
towards God. In the fourth place, the play on sending "my messenger" 
with Malachi's name in 3:1 is matched in 4:5 by sending "Elijah." 
Finally, both 3:1 and 4:5a are followed by references that speak of the 
awesomeness of the day of the Lord (3:2; 4:5b). 

F. The Time of Day of the Lord 

This messenger, who is called the prophet Elijah, is to appear 
"before that great and terrible day of the Lord comes." That day was 



14 For a long discussion of the Christian history of interpretation of the NT identity 
of Elijah, see E. B. Pusey, The Minor Prophets, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1950) 2. 499- 
502 and E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology, 4. 195-200. 



228 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

described in similar terms in Joel 2:11, 31 and Zeph 1:14. A number 
of the OT prophets view that day as one day and a collective event 
which entailed this three-way puzzle: (1) though five prophets refer to 
that day as "near" or "at hand," their prophecies are spread over four 
centuries (Obad 15; Joel 1:15; 2:21; Isa 3:6; Zeph 1:7, 14; Ezek 30:3); 
(2) these prophets also saw different immediate events belonging to 
their own day as being part of that "day of the Lord" including 
destruction of Edom, a locust plague, or the pending destruction of 
Jerusalem in 586 B.C.; and (3) nevertheless, that day was also a future 
day in which the Lord "destroyed the whole earth" (Isa 13:5) and 
reigned as "King over all the earth" (Zech 14:1, 8-9), a day when "the 
elements will be dissolved . . . and the earth and the works that are in 
it will be laid bare" (2 Pet 3:10), as well as a day of salvation and 
deliverance (Joel 2:32). 

It is just such a day that Mai 3:2; 4:1, 5 mention. The principle of 
generic or successive fulfillment is most important if we are adequately 
to explain and be faithful to all the biblical data. T. V. Moore stated 
it this way: 

There are a number of statements by the sacred writers that are 
designed to apply to distinct facts, successively occurring in history. If 
the words are limited to any one of these facts, they will seem 
exaggerated, for no one fact can exhaust their significance. They must 
be spread out over all the facts before their plenary meaning is reached. 
There is nothing in this principle that is at variance with the ordinary 
laws of language. The same general use of phrases occurs repeatedly. . . . 
Every language contains these formulas, which refer not to any one 
event, but a series of events, all embodying the same principle, or 
resulting from the same cause. 

[Thus] ... the promise in regard to the "seed of the woman," (Gen. 
3:15) refers to one event but runs along the whole stream of history, 
and includes every successive conquest of the religion of Christ . . . 
[This] class of predictions . . . is . . . what the old theologians called the 
novissima . . , 15 

Thus, the "Day of Yahweh" is a generic or collective event which 
gathers together all the antecedent historical episodes of God's judgment 
and salvation along with the future grand finale and climactic event 
in the whole series. Every divine intervention into history before that 
final visitation in connection with the second advent of Christ con- 
stitutes only a preview, sample, downpayment or earnest on that 
climactic conclusion. The prophet did not think of the day of the 



5 T. V. Moore, Zechariah, Malachi, 396-99. 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 229 

Lord as an event that would occur once for all, but one that could 
"be repeated as the circumstances called for it." 16 

Now, the future Elijah, the prophet, will appear "before that 
great and terrible day of the Lord comes." Furthermore, as shown in 
Mai 3:1 and Isa 40:3, he will prepare the way for Yahweh. But which 
coming of the Messiah is intended by Malachi — the first or second 
advent? Since most conclude along with the NT writers that the 
messenger's preparation was for the first advent of our Lord, and 
since the events included in that day in Mai 3:2ff and Mai 4: Iff 
involve the purification of the Levites, the judgment on the wicked 
and the return of the Yahweh to his temple, it is fair to conclude that 
that day embraces both advents. This is precisely the situation which 
Joel 2:28-32 presents. The fulfillment of Joel's words at Pentecost is 
as much a part of that day as the seismographic and cosmological 
convolutions connected with the second advent. 

The basic concept, then, is that Malachi's prophecy does not 
merely anticipate that climactic fulfillment of the second advent, but 
it simultaneously embraces a series of events which all participate in 
the prophet's single meaning even though the referents embraced in 
that single meaning are many. 17 In this way, the whole set of events 
make up one collective totality and constitute only one idea even 
though they involve many referents which are spread over a large 
portion of history. Perhaps the best way to describe this phenomenon 
is to call it a generic prediction which Willis J. Beecher defined as: 

. . . one which regards an event as occurring in a series of parts, 
separated by intervals, and expresses itself in language which may 
apply indifferently to the nearest part, or to the remoter parts, or to the 
whole — in other words, a prediction which in applying to the whole of 
a complex event, also applies to some of its parts. 18 

III. JOHN THE BAPTIST AND NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT 

The NT question may now be asked: "Was John the Baptist the 
fulfillment of Malachi's prophecies or was he not?" 



16 Willis J. Beecher, The Prophets and the Promise (New York: Thomas Y. 
Crowell, 1905; reprinted, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1970) 311. 

I7 A most helpful distinction can be found in G. B. Caird, The Language and 
Imagery of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980) chap. 2. He 'distinguishes 
between meaning v (- value: "This means more to me than anything else"), meaning 
(- entailment: "This means war"), meaning R (= referent: identifies person(s) or thing(s) 
named or involved), meaning s (= sense: gives qualities of person or thing) and meaning 1 
(= intention: the truth-commitment of the author). 

18 W. J. Beecher, The Prophets and the Promise, 130. 



230 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

A. Three Basic Positions 

Three basic answers have been given to this inquiry: (1) John the 
Baptist fully fulfilled all that was predicted of the messenger who 
would prepare the way and Elijah will not come again; 19 (2) Elijah the 
Tishbite will personally reappear and minister once again at the end 
of this age; 20 and (3) John the Baptist did come as a fulfillment of this 
prophecy, but he came in "the spirit and the power of Elijah" and is 
thereby only one prophet in a series of forerunners who are appearing 
throughout history until that final and climactically terrible day of 
Yahweh comes when it is announced by the last prophet in this series 



B. A Generic Fulfillment of the Elijah Prophecy 

From our examination of Malachi's prophecy it is clear that we 
should adopt the third alternative. The identity, timing, and tasks of 
this messenger in Malachi all argue for his appearance in two 
different individuals, if not a series of them, rather than a single 
individual such as John the Baptist. 

The NT evidence yields a similar construction. Matt 1 1:14 quotes 
Jesus as affirming that "he [John the Baptist] is himself (ciutoc; eaxiv) 
Elijah, the one who is to come." Again in Matt 11:10 (= Luke 7:27), 
"This (outot;) is the one of whom it is written, 'Behold I send my 
messenger before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee'." 
So John was that one — Elijah the prophet! 

Yet it is just as clear that John denies that he is Elijah: "I am not 
[Elijah] (£yd) ouk eiui, John 1:21, 23); and that Luke assures us that 
John the Baptist came only in the "spirit and power of Elijah" (£v 
rcveuuciTi Kai Suvduei, Luke 1:17). Even when it is clear that John 
only denied being Elijah in the popular misconceptions entertained by 
the people of John's day, John could be identified as Elijah only 
because the same Spirit and power that had energized Elijah had now 
fallen on him. 

"John Calvin, Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1950) 5. 627; E. W. Hengstengberg, Christology, 4. 165; Oswald T. Allis, 
Prophecy and the Church (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1974) 49; David 
Allan George Knight, "John the Baptist and Elijah: A Study of Prophetic Fulfillment," 
(Unpublished M.A. thesis; T.E.D.S., Deerfield, IL, 1978) 115-16. 

20 John Paul Tan, The Interpretation of Prophecy (Winona Lake, IN: BMH 
Books, 1974) 185-87; Tertullian, "A Treatise on the Soul," 3:217. 

21 Justin Martyr, "Dialogue with Trypho," 1:219-20; Aurelius Augustine, 
"St. John's Gospel," 7:27; T. T. Perowne, Malachi (The Cambridge Bible for Schools 
and Colleges; Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1890) 39; J. T. Marshall, "The 
Theology of Malachi," ExpT 7 (1895-96) 126; J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958) 311-12. 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 231 

C. The New Elijah 's Tasks 

Even the task of this coming prophet had this same two-pronged 
focus. Mark 9:12 answers the inquiry of Peter, James, and John 
("Why do the scribes say the first Elijah must come?") as they were 
returning from the Mount of Transfiguration and hearing about the 
Son of Man suffering and being raised again by saying: "Elijah has 
come [£A.9cbv, past] first and is restoring [dTioKaGiaxdvei, present] all 
things." Matt 17:11, referring to the identical event, combined the 
present with the future tense: "Elijah is coming (e'pxetoii, present) and 
he will restore [d7toKaTaoTiiaei] 22 all things." Since this present is 
coupled with a future tense, the present must be interpreted as a 
futuristic present — "Elijah is coming." 

Now the term "restoration" is used in the OT both as a technical 



uses of this verb are parallel, in part, to the noun form (drco- 
KaTaoTT|oeou<;) used in Acts 3:21. In Acts, Peter states that Jesus now 
remains in heaven "until the time of the restoration (or 'establish- 
ing') 25 of all things that God has spoken by the mouth of his holy 
prophets." That too is a future work associated with the parousia. 

Luke has described John's work as one of going before the Lord 
to prepare his ways, of giving the knowledge of salvation to his 
people and giving light to those in darkness (Luke 1:76-79). He 
would also "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (eTuaTpeyai 
Kap8iag natepov £7ti t£Kva, Luke 1:17, which follows the MT of Mai 
4:6 in the verb e7tiaxpe(po) instead of the LXX d7toKa0ioTT|ui)." 

IV. conclusion: hermeneutical implications 

The emerging picture is clear. How can we disassociate Elijah 
who is to come from the day of the Lord? And how can we limit the 
day of the Lord entirely to the second advent and the parousia? Both 
errors will lead to a result less than what was intended by Malachi. 

22 Both Matthew and Mark's word for "restoration" is found in the LXX. The 
Hebrew MT of Mai 4:6 has TpTi. The text of Sir 48:10 followed the LXX. 

23 Jer 15:19; 16:15; 23:8; 24:6; Hos 11:10 

24 Amos 5:15. I owe these references to David A. G. Knight, "John the Baptist and 
Elijah," 93. 

25 Some prefer to link this idea with the fulfillment or establishment of OT 
prophecy; see K. Lake and H. J. Cadberry, The Acts of the Apostles, The Beginnings 
of Christianity (ed. F. J. Foakes Jackson and K. Lake; 5 vols.; London: Macmillan, 
1933) 4. 38, as cited by Knight, "John the Baptist and Elijah," 94. This is a strange 
word to express that concept when so many others were available and used by Luke. 
The OT usage appears to be too fixed to allow this novel meaning — especially in a 
passage that appeals to the prophets! 



232 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Elijah still must come and "restore all things" (Matt 17:11) "before 
the great and terrible day of the Lord comes" (Mai 4:5). 

Nevertheless, let no one say that Elijah has not already in some 
sense come, for our Lord will affirm the contrary: "Elijah has come." 
Now, what explanation will adequately answer all of these phenomena? 
Were it not for the fact that this same type of phenomenon occurs 
with so many other similar prophetic passages, we would need to 
conclude that the text presented us with internal contradictions. But 
this is not so, for the list of generic prophecies wherein a single 
prediction embraced a whole series of fulfillments when all those 
fulfillments shared something that was part and parcel of all of them 
is a long one. 26 

Some will argue that this is nothing more than what most name 
"double fulfillment of prophecy." This we deny. The problem with 
"double fulfillment" is threefold: (1) it restricts the fulfillments to two 
isolated events and only two; (2) it usually slides easily into a theory 
of double senses or dual intentionality in which the human author 
usually is aware of none of these referents or meanings or at most 
only one (if it is contemporaneous) with the other or both fulfillments 
left as surprises for the future generation in which they take place; 
and (3) it focuses only on the predictive word (usually given in 
abstraction from the times in which that word came) and on the final 
fulfillment without any attention being given as to how God kept that 
word alive in the years that intervened between the divine revelation 
and the climactic fulfillment. 

Only generic prophecy can handle all three foci: (1) the revelatory 
word; (2) the series of intervening historical events which perpetuate 
that word; and (3) corporate, collective, and generic wholeness of that 
final fulfillment with whatever aspect of realization that event has had 
in the interim as God continued to promise by his Word and to act by 
his power throughout history. The intervening events, then, while 
being generically linked with that final event, were earnests, down- 
payments, samplers, partial teasers until the total payment came in 
God's climactic fulfillment. 

That exactly is what happened in the case of John the Baptist. 
He was only a sample of a portion of the work that was to be done in 
the final day. We can show this by referring to the identities, tasks, 
and timing given in Malachi and the Gospels without adding at this 
time the further evidence of the work of one of the two witnesses in 
Revelation 1 1. 



See W. C. Kaiser, Jr., "The Promise of God and the Outpouring of the Holy 
Spirit: Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21," The Living and Active Word of God, ed. 
Morris Inch and Ron Youngblood (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1982). 



kaiser: the promise of THE ARRIVAL OF ELIJAH 233 

John then was Elijah as an earnest, but we still await the other 
Elijahs and especially that final Elijah the prophet before the great 
and terrible day of our Lord. The meaning 1 is one; not two, three, or 
sensus plenior. Only that sense given by revelation of God can be 
normative, authoritative, and apologetically convincing to a former 
generation of Jews or to our own generation. We urge Christ's 
Church to adopt the single meaning of the text and a generic meaning 
for prophecies of the type found in Mai 3: 1 and 4:5-6. 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 235-60 



THE RICH YOUNG MAN IN MATTHEW 

Robert L. Thomas 



An investigation of any gospel passage which is paralleled in one 
or more of the gospels is heavily influenced by what solution, if any, 
one adopts for the Synoptic Problem. If no literary dependence is 
assumed, one's approach is quite different from those who choose this 
or that solution to the Synoptic Problem. This last option results in 
attributing the differing emphases of the gospel writers ultimately to 
Jesus himself rather than to the individual writers. Matthew chose to 
retain several of the emphases of Jesus' encounter with the rich young 
man which are not retained in Mark and Luke, including the man's 
youthfulness, the importance of the works of love, and the future 
repayment for those who follow Christ. These stem from the histori- 
cal occasion and are not the products of Matthew's editorial alteration 
of the historical incident. 



Study of the life and teaching of Christ is complex today. We 
have passed into an era which calls forth the deepest of analytical 
thought regarding the formation of the gospels. Thorough scrutiny of 
the avalanche of literature that has been and is appearing to treat this 
subject is impossible. But a student of the New Testament must 
maintain some familiarity with it to avoid being swept away by the 
tide of confusion that prevails. In the process of sifting he will 
hopefully gain a better perspective of how our gospels came to us and 
what they contain. 

The basis of modern study is the findings of Source Criticism. It 
is a foregone conclusion to most who labor here that some type of 
literary interrelationship exists among the three Synoptic Gospels. 
Has this assumption ever been proven? Historical evidence of it is 
lacking. Literary proof of it depends on an adequate solution to the 
Synoptic Problem. 

It is this problem that we must deal with first in investigating any 
Synoptic Gospel passage. The most widely held proposal regarding 
gospel relationships is currently the Two-Source Theory. Since any 
methodology is only as good as its presuppositions and since most 

[text of article continues on p. 244] 



236 



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244 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

methodologies depend on the validity of the Two-Source Theory, a 
consideration of this theory is indispensable. 



THE TWO-SOURCE THEORY 
AND MATTHEW/ LUKE AGREEMENTS AGAINST MARK 



The Two-Source Theory proposes that Matthew derived his 
account of the Rich Young Man from Mark's Gospel, and that Luke 
did likewise. It also presupposes besides this that there was no literary 
collaboration between Matthew and Luke in areas where they were 
thus dependent on Mark. While various modifications have been and 
are being offered, this continues to be the basic posture of the typical 
Two-Source proponent. The addition of sources M and L by some 
does not alter this characteristic of the view. 

A question that has never been answered with any degree of 
success by those who advocate this approach is: how can one by 
following this scheme account for agreements of Matthew and Luke 
against Mark? If each used Mark alone as his source in certain places, 
how do the two manage to write identical accounts in so many places 
where Mark has something different? The story of the Rich Young 
Man furnishes a good sampling of the widespread agreements between 
Matthew and Luke in cases where the two differ from Mark. The 
agreements are of two kinds: agreements of omission and agreements 
of inclusion. The agreements of omission are ten in number (see 
Exhibit I, pp. 236-39). It is noted that the majority of alleged 
omissions are substantial. While a rationale might be proposed to 
explain why Matthew and Luke could have coincidentally decided to 
omit each portion, the probability of such a happening in such a 
prolonged series is not great. 

The agreements of inclusion number eighteen items 1 (see Exhibit 
II, pp. 240-43). 

These alleged insertions by Matthew and Luke fall into three 
categories: those cases where the two have substituted a different 
word for the one Mark uses (6 instances of this), those cases where 
the two have chosen a different form of the same word (6 instances of 
this), and those cases where the two use the same word when Mark 
has nothing (6 instances of this): 



'This list may be reduced if the eti parallel is considered invalid (Matt 19:20/ Luke 
18:22) and if two variant readings are altered as they were in United Bible Society's 3rd 
edition and the Nestle-Aland 26th edition (Matt 19:24, 29). 



THOMAS: THE RICH YOUNG MAN 245 

Exhibit III 

Matthew/ Luke Agreements Against Mark 
Kinds of Agreements 



Different choice of vocabulary: 

dicouaac; instead of OTvyvaoaq (Matt 19:20/ Luke 18:21) 

5e instead of Kai (Matt 19:23/ Luke 18:24) 

iprjuaxot; instead of ipuuaAiac; (?) (Matt 19:24/ Luke 18:25) 

eiaekOeiv instead of 5ie?i0eiv (Matt 19:24/ Luke 18:25) 

eircev instead of ecpn. (Matt 19:28/ Luke 18:29) 

noXXanXaoiova instead of eK(XTOVTa7r?axaiova (?) (Matt 19:29/ 

Luke 18:29) 

Different form of the same word: 

t(p()Xa^a instead of ecpuAa^aunv (Matt 19:20/ Luke 18:21) 
oupavoic; instead of oupavcp (Matt 19:21/Luke 18:22) 



24) 

27) 

27/ Luke 18:28) 



elnev instead of Aeyet (Matt 19:23/ Luke 18: 

eIkev instead of X.eyei (Matt 19:26/ Luke 18: 

eirtev instead of fjp^axo Xeyeiv (Matt 19: 

r\KoXovQr\oa\iEV instead of iiKoXouGTiKauev (Matt 19:27/ Luke 

18:28) 

Common word where Mark is blank: 

eti (?) (Matt 19:20/ Luke 18:22) 
dKouoavT8<; (Matt 19:25/ Luke 18:26) 
5e (Matt 19:26/ Luke 18:27) 
5e (Matt 19:28/ Luke 18:29) 
<xi>Toi<; (Matt 19:28/ Luke 18:29) 
5xi (Matt 19:28/ Luke 18:29) 



246 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

It also is significant that the coverage of the 15 or so verses is 
evenly spread from beginning to end of the whole section. It is hardly 
probable that the two happened to refer to an additional source 
besides Mark 26 or 28 times in 15 verses. If they did, they must have 
been dependent on the other source rather than Mark. 

After reviewing the impressive variety and quantity of the 
Matthean-Lucan agreements, one wonders how some can write them 
off so glibly. Marshall, for example, after commenting on one of the 
omissions in Luke 18:18, writes, "Similar omissions by Matthew are 
probably coincidental, since there is no other evidence of significant 
agreement between Lk. and Mt. here." 2 But the passage is full of 
such, and the statistical probability of such a long series being 
coincidences is infinitesimally small. 

Attempts to reduce the length of such a list have included the 
presumption that Matthew and Luke frequently change Mark's Kai to 
86. This has little impact on the present series of agreements, however, 
since it accounts for only one of the agreements. It also is less than 
persuasive that even this one should be deleted, because in at least 
two instances elsewhere in triple tradition portions Matthew and 
Luke agree in their use of Kai where Mark has 56 (Mark 2:6 and par.; 
14:47 and par.). 

Another such attempt to limit the number of significant agree- 
ments has cited Matthew's and Luke's aversion to Mark's historical 
present, particularly in their frequent substitution of elnev for Aiyei. 
Yet if this be valid, and strong doubt exists that it is since Matthew 
himself uses the historical present Xiyei in 19:18 and 20, the list is 
reduced by only two agreements. 

PRESENT TRENDS AMONG NEW TESTAMENT SCHOLARS 

With the Two-Source Theory resting upon such shaky founda- 
tions as these, it is no wonder that a growing number of scholars are 
forsaking it in quest of one that is more intellectually satisfactory. 
Walker notes, "In recent years ... the so-called 'Two-Document' or 
'Two-Source Hypothesis' . . . has been seriously challenged from 
various quarters, and an increasing number of scholars is now 
arguing both for the elimination of the 'Q' theory and for the priority 
of Matthew or perhaps even Luke." 3 He adds, "In short, the critical 

2 I. Howard Marshall, Commentary on Luke (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1978), 684; see also Willoughby C. Allen, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on 
the Gospel According to S. Matthew (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 211. 

3 William O. Walker, Jr., "Introduction: The Colloquy on the Relationships 
Among the Gospels," The Relationships Among the Gospels, William O. Walker, Jr., 
ed. (San Antonio: Trinity University, 1978), 2. 



THOMAS: THE RICH YOUNG MAN 247 

consensus regarding gospel relationships now appears to have been 
shaken, if not shattered." 4 Outler joins in this appraisal: "A century- 
old consensus in the liberal Protestant tradition of gospel studies 
(with respect to dating, provenance, literary interdependence, etc.) 
has somehow, almost unexpectedly, become problematic all over 
again. . . . The tide of dissent from the academic conventions in which 
most of us were indoctrinated has now reached a level where it has to 
be taken seriously." 5 Lord agrees with the others: "In short, I find the 
Two-Source Theory inadequate to explain the relationship among the 
gospels in this significant complex of passages." 6 Reginald Fuller 
sums it up thus: "We are entering into a period of great 'fluidity' so 
far as acceptable views regarding the relationships among the gospels 
and other introductory matters are concerned." 7 

A recently published article by Boismard entitled "The Two 
Source Theory at an Impasse" expresses the dilemma through an 
examination of Mark 6:31-34 and parallels: 8 

Twenty years ago we could assume that the Two-Source theory, as the 
decisive solution to the synoptic problem had won the day. An 
unassailable dogma in Germany, on the front lines in Louvain, well 
positioned in England and the United States, it had little fear from the 
last spasms of its opponents, and could view them as the final stand of 
the rearguard. But times have changed. Aged Griesbach turns in his 
grave, refusing to stay defeated. After two centuries he has returned to 
the field in the persons of Dom Butler of England and, especially, 
W. R. Farmer of the United States. . . . Even in Germany the enemy 
has gained a foothold. Already in 1971 A. Fuchs saw that a large 
number of the Matthew/ Luke agreements against Mark could not be 
explained in terms of the Two-Source theory. 9 

Attempts to explain away these agreements Boismard labels as "not 
very serious scholarship" and "a model of slapdash workmanship." 10 
After careful examination of the omissions in his passage where 
Matthew/ Luke agree against Mark, he notes, "It is true that Matthew 

4 Walker, "Introduction," 3. 

5 Albert C. Outler, "'Gospel Studies' in Transition," The Relationships Among the 
Gospels, 18. 

6 Albert B. Lord, "The Gospels as Oral Tradition Literature," The Relationships 
Among the Gospels, 82. 

'Reginald H. Fuller, "Classics and the Gospels: the Seminar," The Relationships 
Among the Gospels, 192. 

8 M.-E. Boismard, "The Two-Source Theory at an Impasse," New Testament 
Studies, Lorraine Coza, Robert Beck, and Francis Martin, trans., vol. 26, 1-17. 

'Boismard, "Two-Source Theory," 1. 

10 Boismard, "Two-Source Theory," 4. 



248 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

and Luke could have independently eliminated from Mark's text all 
the phrases which are found only in Mark. However, this possibility 
can be given but a relatively small coefficient of probability." 11 

ALTERNATIVES TO THE TWO-SOURCE THEORY 

What course is there to follow then? In the face of an imminent 
collapse of the Two-Source theory, what is this "growing number of 
students of the Bible, both Old Testament and New, who are scruti- 
nizing not only the results of source criticism but also its assumptions 
and methods" 12 doing about it? They are taking different courses. 

(1) A good number are turning back to Griesbach. It is generally 
agreed that "the Griesbach theory has now achieved a position of 
respectability, that it is at least a possible solution." 13 

(2) Others are writing off all the currently proposed solutions as 
being too simplistic. There has been widespread endorsement of E. P. 
Sanders' statements about this: "I rather suspect that when and if a 
new view of the Synoptic problem becomes accepted, it will be more 
flexible and complicated than the tidy two-document hypothesis. 
With all due respect for scientific preference for the simpler view, the 
evidence seems to require a more complicated one." 14 As Classical 
scholar George Kennedy adds, "The inability of New Testament 
scholars over a period of two hundred years to agree on the composi- 
tion of the gospels, despite a general agreement that there are signs of 
a literary relationship, suggests that the true relationship may be very 
complex." 15 Walker's evaluation is relevant: "Many believe that an 
impasse has now been reached, with confidence in the Two-Source 
Hypothesis weakened but no other hypothesis successful in replacing 
it." 16 



Boismard, "Two-Source Theory," 1 1. 

l2 James A. Sanders, "The Gospels and the Canonical Process; a Response to Lou 
H. Silberman," The Relationships Among the Gospels, 219. 

l3 Joseph B. Tyson, "Literary Criticism and the Gospels, the Seminar," The 
Relationships Among the Gospels, 340-41. 

E. P. Sanders, 77?? Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, (Cambridge: Cambridge 
University, 1969), 279. 

15 George Kennedy, "Classical and Christian Source Criticism," 777? Relationships 
Among the Gospels, 153. 

16 Walker, "Introduction," 3. A comparison of Warfield's remark in 1929 with a 
similar statement by Tyson in 1978 is interesting. Warfield writes, "And in general, no 
form of criticism is more uncertain [italics added] than that, now so diligently 
prosecuted, which seeks to explain the several forms of narratives in the Synoptics as 
modifications one of another" (Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Christology and 
Criticism [New York: Oxford, 1929], 1 15n.). Tyson writes. "The situation now appears 
to be one in which there are no certainties [italics added] and few probabilities 
regarding relationships among the gospels" (Tyson, "Literary Criticism," 341). Outler 



THOMAS! THE RICH YOUNG MAN 249 

(3) Yet another way that has been suggested is to study the 
gospels "holistically." 17 This concept maintains that "disintegrating 
approaches by New Testament critics bypass the first essential step in 
historical scholarship, namely, the understanding of the religious 
documents in their integrity." 18 It maintains "that a greater degree of 
trust in the accuracy of the primary sources and of the external 
evidence is justified." 19 

This third approach has been restated in different ways. Lord 
and Rist have suggested that the problem of relationships among the 
gospels is not a literary problem at all, but rather an oral tradition 
problem, thus making the Synoptic Gospels represent three indepen- 
dent versions of "oral tradition literature." 20 Lord cites evidence that 
points "to the independence of each gospel rather than to the primacy 
of any one." 21 Meeks observes that the earliest church fathers were 
disinterested in the Synoptic Problem because they viewed the gospels 
as independent works. He says, "Both Papias and Clement write as if 
there were no literary connection between any of the gospels. . . . 
Clement and Origen . . . mention the gospels in the orders, respectively, 
Matthew, Luke, Mark, John and Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, but 
neither has a word to say about dependence." 22 Keck notes that "if 
Lord is correct, then the history of the debate over the Synoptic 
Problem becomes intelligible; this debate has not succeeded in solving 
the problem because it has pursued the wrong question for two 
hundred years; in other words, a great deal of gospel study has been a 
goose chase." 23 

The approach which considers the Synoptic Gospels to be indepen- 
dent of one another has been chosen as a basis for the methodology 
to be applied to the story of the Rich Young Man. Reasons for the 
choice differ somewhat from those of some others who choose to 
view the gospels thus, except in one respect: that is the inadequacy of 
any of the other approaches to explain the nature of an alleged 
literary relationship among the Synoptic Gospels. Outler expresses 



says bluntly, "I regard this problem as formally insoluble" (Outler, cited by Walker, 
"Introduction," 12). Reginald Fuller views it as an impossibility at the present juncture 
to solve the Synoptic Problem (Fuller, "Classics," 176). 

"Tyson, "Literary Criticism," 335. 

l8 Roland Mushat Frye, cited by Tyson, "Literary Criticism," 335. 

"Charles Thomas Davis, cited by Fuller, "Literary Criticism," 334-35. 

20 Albert B. Lord and J. M. Rist, cited by Walker, "Introduction," 10. 

21 Albert B. Lord, "The Gospels," 58. 

22 Wayne A. Meeks, "Hypomnemata from an Untamed Skeptic: A Response to 
George Kennedy," The Relationships Among the Gospels, 171. 

23 Leander E. Keck, "Oral Tradition Literature and the Gospels," The Relationships 
Among the Gospels, 1 16. 



250 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

current dissatisfaction this way: "The ratio of conjecture to hard data 
in the historical-literary study of the gospels is higher than most 
critical historians would find acceptable." 24 Frye says it in these 
words: "Few if any of the leading literary historians in secular fields 
would be comfortable with the widespread assumption among New 
Testament critics that it is possible to move backwards in time from 
passages in the extant gospel texts in such a way as to identify 
previous stages or forms through which the tradition has supposedly 
developed and, ultimately, to arrive at or near the original life and 
teachings of Jesus; or that it is possible, through a similar procedure, 
to explain the synoptic redactions as we now have them." 25 Farmer 
agrees "that the conclusions provided by popular methodologies now 
being employed do little to carry us beyond subjective satisfaction." 26 
Aside from any solution to the Synoptic Problem, we will look 
at Matthew's account of the Rich Young Man with the presupposition 
of its integrity and worthiness of examination in its own right. 27 What 
can be learned from what he chose to retain, but Mark and Luke 



24 Outler, "Transition," 22. 

25 Roland Mushat Frye, "The Synoptic Problems and Analogies in Other Litera- 
tures," The Relationships Among the Gospels, 287. Frye notes how literary critics of 
the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries went through many of the same phases as 
NT critics are going through in relation to Source, Form, and Redaction Criticism. 
They applied certain criteria to Shakespearean texts and determined that some 
portions were not attributable to Shakespeare himself, but were explainable in light of 
an earlier play taken over by Shakespeare or in light of a later editor who revised this 
text or that. Without being guilty of frivolity or wilful chicanery they made what is 
now recognized to be equivocal use of evidence to arrive at subjective conclusions. 
Through an elaborate scissors-and-paste process, one scholar was able to create from 
Hamlet an Ur-Hamlet so as to remove some of the problems and mysteries of Hamlet 
from the Shakespearean canon. Among literary critics this methodology has now been 
thoroughly discredited, even though it "was presented with elaborate learning, with 
extensive critical apparatus and sophisticated arguments, often with statistical tables 
and charts, and with repeated appeals to 'science'" (Frye, "Analogies," 288-89). The 
methodology of this disintegrating approach is strikingly similar to much that goes on 
in NT analysis (pp. 289-90). One wonders when such an "awakening" will occur among 
NT critics and they will realize the futility of the methodology which has such a 
stranglehold on the thinking of so many. 

26 William R. Farmer, "Basic Affirmation with Some Demurrals: a Response to 
Roland Mushat Frye," The Relationships Among the Gospels, 313. 

27 If the question be raised as to how one can account for the widespread 
agreements among the Synoptic Gospels apart from any theory of literary dependence, 
the option should be retained that the agreements may be accounted for by the fact 
that it happened that way in the historical setting of Jesus' life and by postulating some 
agreements in editorializing among the thousands of sources that must have been 
available to the writers. The accurate recording of the happening is more than 
adequately explained on the basis of memory, a large assortment of written descriptions, 
and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 



THOMAS: THE RICH YOUNG MAN 251 

chose not to retain, should be a key to what emphases from Christ's 
life and teaching are his main interests. 

MATTHEW'S SPECIAL EMPHASES 

The following shows a number of the areas that are peculiar to 
Matthew and are therefore worthy of discussion (see Exhibit IV, 
pp. 252-55). 

To begin with the more obvious, the rich young man in Matthew 
(19:20, 22) is the rich man in Mark (10:22) and the rich ruler in Luke 
(18:18, 23). Matthew is alone in referring to his age. Neaviaicoc; is 
indefinite as to how young the young man was, but it may include up 
to 50 years of age. 28 One was "young" or veto-repot; until he became 
an elder or rcpeopuTepoc; (cf. 1 Pet 5:5). With this age-range possibility 
there is nothing inconsistent in the man's claim about his conduct 
"from his youth" as recorded by Mark (10:20) and Luke (18:21). 

Works of Love 

Matthew's special interest in the performance of good works 
comes to light in several features. He has chosen to retain the young 
man's question about the "good thing (or deed)" necessary to acquire 
eternal life (Matt 19:16), while Mark and Luke have not. To suppose 
that this feature is original with Matthew or that he has imported it 
from some other setting is completely unnecessary. He had no reason 
to do so, though some have accused him of this. 29 This accusation 
rests on the assumption that Matthew depended on Mark as his 
source, an assumption that is fraught with pitfalls. Long ago Warfield 
noted three hinges on which such a presupposition rests: 

(1) that in Mark's account Jesus is repelling the ascription of goodness, 
and therefore, of deity. 

(2) that Matthew, offended by the vocative "Good Teacher" in a way 
that Mark and Luke were not, has deliberately removed the "good" 
from the young man's address. 

(3) that Matthew in the process bungled the change by attributing to 
Jesus a masculine pronoun and adjective rather than a neuter. 30 

Add to these three the hinge that Matthew used Mark as a source, 
and there are four shaky presuppositions on which to base Matthew's 



28 L. Coenen, "Bishop, Presbyter, Elder," NIDNTT, Colin Brown, ed. (Grand 
Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), I. 192. 
"Allen, Matthew, 208. 
30 Warfield, Christology and Criticism, 113-14. 

[text of article continues on p. 256] 



252 



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256 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

alleged addition of "good" to the young man's question about 
acquiring eternal life. 31 

The subordinate enclitic ue and the emphatic ayaGov in Jesus' 
answer to the young man (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19) show the nature 
of that answer. He called attention to the young man's light use of 
"good," not to His own relation to God. 32 Matthew knew this just as 
well as Mark and Luke and was not trying to provide a corrective or 
a differing meaning to the same question. Rather he was describing 
another question that was asked on the same occasion. That the 
young man fired a series of questions at Jesus is suggested by Mark's 
imperfect enrip&rca (Mark 10:17). 33 Matthew records one question 
and its answer while Mark and Luke record another. If it be objected 
that this explanation is artificial, there is precedent for one's repeating 
himself in different words on the same occasion precisely in this 
pericope. In Mark 10:24 Jesus is quoted as saying, "Children, how 
hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!" just after he has been quoted 
in Mark 10:23 similarly: "How hard it will be for those who have 
riches to enter the kingdom of God!" Those who so narrowly restrict 
conversations and discourses to only what is recorded in the gospels 
apparently have a distorted concept of what communication was like 
in these early times. 

The young man asked it and Matthew recorded the young man's 
question in accordance with his desire to emphasize the importance of 
good works. This same desire appears in Jesus' words iripei xaq 
EVToXac, which Matthew alone retains (19:17). The others record, 
"You know the commandments" (Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20). Endorse- 
ment of the Mosaic law is a strong aspect of the first gospel 
throughout (5:17-20; 18:16; 23:23). 34 But this endorsement carries 
with it an emphasis upon obedience to that law, and Matthew chose 
this as one of his gospel's emphases. This accounts for the frequent 
denunciation of Jesus' opponents who burdened men with command- 
ments which they themselves were unwilling to keep (23:4; cf. 11:28- 
30). 35 This issue is at the heart of the anti-Pharisaic attitude so clearly 
displayed in Matthew (e.g. 3:9; 5:20; 6:2, 5, 16; 23:1-36). These 
leaders stood for a superficial type of adherence to the Mosaic law 

31 Storehouse proposes that Matthew was only trying to be more succinct in 
omitting the "good" from "Good Teacher," but this is hardly likely since Matthew is 
actually more wordy than Mark at this point. See Ned B. Stonehouse, Origins of the 
Synoptic Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963), 107-8. 

"Warfield, Christology and Criticism, 104-7; Henry Barclay Swete, The Gospel 
According to Mark (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956 [reprint]), 223. 

"Warfield, Christology and Criticism, 109. 

34 Allen, Matthew, lxxvii. 

35 H. H. Esser, "Command, Order," NIDNTT, 1. 335. 



THOMAS: THE RICH YOUNG MAN 257 

which did not reflect itself in the good deeds that the law required. So 
it is quite fitting in the framework of the first gospel that we read 
Jesus' response to the young man: "Keep the commandments." 

The commandment in Matthew which is not found in the others 
is "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (19:19), a summary of 
the second table of the law (cf. Rom 13:9). This feature displays 
another emphasis in Matthew. The commandment from Lev 19:18 is 
in Mark and Luke only once, in the discussion about the greatest 
commandment (Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27), but Matthew uses it three 
times (5:43; here; 22:39). It cannot be doubted that Jesus himself 
placed great emphasis on this commandment. His half-brother James 
reflects the need to comply with it in his epistle (James 2:8), as does 
Paul in his two epistles about the righteousness of God (Rom 13:9; 
Gal 5:14). 

It is, therefore, no surprise to find another of the Twelve, John, 
dwelling upon this commandment also. "The new evTOArj of Jesus to 
his disciples is to love. It is given its deepest basis in Jn. 13:34. . . . 
They are to love one another as those who are loved by Jesus," writes 
Schrenk. 36 The foundation in John is Christological. This differs from 
Matthew who cites the occasions when Christ adhered strictly to Lev 
19:18. John, in view of the Gentile background of his Christian 
readers in Asia Minor, had more reason to give as the measure of 
one's love Christ's love for believers. Matthew's predominantly Jewish 
readers were more accustomed to the precise terminology of the 
Mosaic law. 

Another Matthean distinctive in his account of the rich young 
man reinforces Matthew's special attention to love for one's neighbor. 
It is his ei QiXeic, ie?t£io<; elvai (19:21). Perfection or completeness in 
keeping the commandments, Jesus tells the young man, is contingent 
upon his selling his possessions and giving the proceeds to the poor. 
On another occasion Jesus commanded completeness (xeXeioc,) such 
as is the characteristic of the Father (5:48). He was discussing love for 
one's neighbor on this other occasion also. Apparently, performance 
of this obligation represented the capstone of obedience in Matthew's 
eyes. 

There is a sequel to Jesus' directive that the rich young man keep 
the Mosaic commandments. After one became Jesus' follower, Jesus 
directed that he keep his commandments: "teach them to keep all 
things that I have commanded you" (Matt 28:20). 37 The "all things" 
that Jesus commanded doubtless featured this same commandment to 
love others. John the son of Zebedee, another apostolic witness, 



5 G. Schrenck, TDNT, 2. 553-54. 
7 Schrenck, TDNT, 2. 545. 



258 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

assures us of this. Frequently he reminds his readers of their obligation 
by using the xripeiv xac, EVToXac, combination (John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 
1 John 2:3, 4; 3:22, 24; 5:3; Rev 12:17; 14:12) as well as the closely 
related TrjpEiv xov ^oyov (John 14:23, 24; 15:20; 1 John 2:5; Rev 3:8, 
10; 22:7, 9). The substance of Jesus' commandment or word to be 
obeyed was love for one another (John 13:34; 15:12; 1 John 2:3, 4, 7, 
10; 3:11, 14, 18, 23; 4:7, 11, 12, 20, 21; 2 John 5). As verified by two 
firsthand reports, Jesus repeatedly told his own followers to keep his 
commandment of love for one another as he instructed non-followers 
to keep Moses' commandment of love for one's neighbor. This was 
one of those occasions when he did the latter, as verified by Matthew. 38 

Future Repayment for Following Christ 

The application drawn from this incident by Jesus is somewhat 
surprising. We might have expected something about the young 
man's loss of treasure in heaven because of his refusal to give to the 
poor (cf. Matt 19:21 and par.). Instead, however, Jesus focuses upon 
the hindrance of wealth in one's quest for salvation. Entering the 
kingdom, being saved, and receiving eternal life have equivalent 
meanings in this discussion. 

Matthew's emphasis reflects the Jewish background of the con- 
stituency for which he wrote. This is seen by his choice of retaining 
"kingdom of heaven" (Matt 19:23) rather than "kingdom of God" 
(Mark 10:23; Luke 18:24) and his retention of the words about the 
Son of Man's throne and rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 
19:28). 

"The kingdom of heaven" is a designation that can be traced 
through Jewish apocalyptic literature back to Dan 2:44; 7:13, 14. 39 
This kingdom on earth will have its origin in heaven. The God of 
heaven will set it up, doing so through one like a son of man who 
comes with clouds of heaven. This Son of Man will have a universal 
dominion. Such was the hope extended by the OT to those Jewish 
people to whom the Messiah ministered. It would be a kingdom in 
which Israel enjoys primacy, but would extend throughout the world 
and include Gentiles as well. 40 

Matthew's orientation toward this future reign of Messiah is 
reflected also in Jesus' words about xfj naXiyyeveaia (19:28). Just as 
he does in the Olivet Discourse (25:31), he tells of the Son of Man 
sitting on the throne of his glory. Here only in Matthew, however, 



38 Cf. Riesenfield, TDNT, 8. 144-46. 
39 Allen, Matthew, lxix. 
Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1959) 279-80. 



THOMAS: THE RICH YOUNG MAN 259 

does Jesus reveal specifically that the Twelve will be repaid for their 
self-sacrifice by being placed on thrones with authority to judge the 
twelve tribes of Israel. To Matthew relevant rewards for leaving all to 
follow Jesus are entirely future. Such a role in the future Messianic 
age will be a repayment abundantly beyond whatever sacrifice has 
been made and will include eternal life as an inheritance (19:29). It is 
significant that Matthew chooses not to mention repayment in the 
present time such as is found in Mark (10:30) and Luke (18:30). The 
future of Israel was a dominant feature for him in light of the 
interests of his audience. 

The legitimacy of this motivation is not to be questioned. In 
other words, Peter is not to be disparaged because of his question, 
"What then will we have?" (Matt 19:27). This does not reflect Peter's 
self-centeredness as M'Neile proposes. 41 It simply was a request for 
reassurance in light of what Jesus had just said about the impossibility 
of man's attaining his own salvation. 42 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 

We have looked first at a proposed solution to the Synoptic 
Problem since this issue is foundational in any study of the Synoptic 
Gospels. That proposed solution, the Two-Source Theory, proved 
inadequate to answer one well established characteristic of the Rich 
Young Ruler passage, the phenomenon of the many agreements of 
Matthew and Luke against Mark. 

We then noticed a pronounced trend away from preference for 
the Two-Source Theory among today's scholars. This trend is in part 
attributable to the Matthew/ Luke agreements. In place of the once 
almost universal adherence to the Two-Source Theory, some are 
turning back to Griesbach, others are proposing more complex 
systems of dependence in place of the currently espoused simplistic 
solutions, and still others are recommending the study of the gospels 
as independent literary productions. It was this last approach that 
was selected for the present study. 

In implementing this approach, we found that two major empha- 
ses retained by Matthew from the life of Christ emerge. One was his 
insistence on works of love. This emphasis was reflected in a number 
of ways: the question about good works, the instruction to keep the 
commandments, the use of Lev 19:18, and the suggestion as to how 
the young man could attain the perfection or completeness of love. 

Alan Hugh M'Neile, The Gospel According to Matthew (London: Macmillan, 
1961), 281. 

42 William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Grand 
Rapids: Baker, 1973), 729; John A. Broadus, An American Commentary on the Gospel 
of Matthew, (Philadelphia: American Baptist, 1886) 409. 



260 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The other emphasis was upon the future repayment to the Jewish 
follower of Christ. The Jewish background of Matthew's readers is 
reflected in his reference to the kingdom of heaven, the regeneration, 
and the twelve tribes of Israel. His preoccupation with future rewards 
in the Messianic Age is seen in his omission of any reference to 
rewards in the present age. 

By way of conclusions regarding the procedure followed in this 
study, three observations are in order. 

(1) It needs to be kept in mind that this type of study does not 
yield the total meaning of Matthew's account, only the special 
features that he alone has retained. He has much more material that 
is common to him, Mark, and Luke, such as the all-important 
injunction to keep on following Jesus. A danger in this type of 
approach could be to miss some primary emphases while straining to 
find what one writer emphasizes exclusively. 

(2) This approach avoids erroneous conclusions such as might be 
drawn if it is assumed that one writer used another as his source. An 
obvious example from the present passage would the possibility of 
inferring that Matthew had some special interest in maintaining the 
deity of Jesus because of an alleged alteration of the young man's 
statement and Jesus' answer. To be sure, Matthew was careful to 
teach the deity of Jesus, though not in this passage, 43 but so were 
Mark and Luke. Realization that Matthew did not use Mark as a 
source eliminates the misconception that this was Matthew's intention. 

(3) There is not the least bit of implausibility in attributing the 
emphases of Matthew to Jesus himself. They fit precisely into the 
pattern of what we know about Jesus from other scriptural sources. 
To imply that Matthew invented them or imported them from 
another setting is pure conjecture and therefore has a very low 
coefficient of probability in a historical-literary study of the gospels. 

One cannot help marveling at the vast amount of work yet to be 
done in bringing out the full contribution of each gospel to our 
knowledge of the life of Christ. Hopefully this small sample will 
stimulate an interest in pursuing that goal in the face of multiplying 
theories of skepticism. Only by accepting the gospels at face value can 
we hope to grow in our quest to know the only true God and Jesus 
Christ whom he has sent. 



43 Warfield, Christology and Criticism, 107. 



Grace Theological Journal 3.2 (1982) 261- 



THE OVERCOMER OF 
THE APOCALYPSE 

James E. Rosscup 



The problem of the identity of the "over comer" in the book of 
Revelation has resulted in a multiplicity of interpretations. Interest in 
this issue has been heightened by a number of recent publications. 
However, only the view that all genuine believers are "overcomers, " 
not only those who are "more victorious" in their Christian living, 
does justice to all the evidence. Thus, erroneous ideas of what it 
means to be an "over comer" must be refuted. Maintaining the 
viewpoint that all true believers are "overcomers" also involves a 
defense of the doctrines of eternal security and of the perseverance of 
the saints. 



In Revelation 2-3, Christ addresses seven historical churches of 
Asia in which he discerns certain spiritual conditions. Similar 
conditions recur in churches that claim his name down through the 
centuries. In a letter to each of the seven churches he promises a 
specific blessing to every person who overcomes (viKdco, "/o over- 
come," "be victor'"'). It is profitable to inquire into the nature of the 
blessing (reward) for overcoming, but the main purpose in this article 
is to address one question: who is the overcomer who receives the 
reward? 

A SURVEY OF MAIN VIEWS 

The leading interpretations are: 

A saved person who retains salvation, which some forfeit 

Those persuaded to this view often hold that all seven promises 
pertain only to that number among the saved who finally prove 



262 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

faithful, whether or not their commitment reaches martyrdom. In this 
interpretation, some who once were truly saved do not persevere; they 
forfeit the privilege of ever receiving the final reward, understood as 
eternal salvation, which Christ promises the overcomer. 1 A variation, 
however, is the position of Kiddle. He sees the overcomer as especially 
the martyr in all seven letters, and limits him only to the martyr in 
two cases. 2 

A saved person who conquers, distinguished from a defeated 
Christian 

This interpretation is to the effect that the overcomer is only the 
more victorious believer, so only such a one will receive the rewards 
Christ promises. The saved person with much unfaithfulness mingled 
with some fruit in his life will still remain saved eternally. He stands 
simply to fail to gain aspects of reward that are held to be distinct 
from salvation, blessings sometimes claimed to be in addition to 
salvation, 3 which Christ assures to the overcomer. Evidence for the 



'Guy Duty, If Ye Continue (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1966), 148-55; G. H. 
Lang, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (London: Oliphants, Ltd., 1945), 91-108, 
especially 91-93; Robert Shank, Life in the Son (Springfield, Missouri: Westcott 
Publishers, 1961), 337. 

2 Martin Kiddle, The Revelation of St. John (Moffatt NTC; London: Hodder and 
Stoughton, 1963). Kiddle's two cases are Rev 2:26-28 (p. 42) and 3:21 with 20:4, 5 
(p. 63). Only the martyr, having been fully proved and having fully proved his 
faithfulness, is assured "beyond any shadow of uncertainty" as to his immortality 
(p. 46; cf. also p. 62). Five of the promises are not alone to the martyr but to all the 
faithful among the saved. For example, all whose names are found in the Book of Life 
in the Day of Judgment are admitted into the New Jerusalem (2:7; 21:27; 22:2, p. 62). 
But the saved who do not persevere lose the "citizenship of the heavenly society" (p. 45; 
also 55), for they can yet be erased from the book (3:5; p. 62). The two cases Kiddle 
limits only to martyrs probably should not be so restricted. The promise of ruling with 
Christ (2:26-28; 3:21; 20:4, 5) seems to be a prospect for all of those among the saved, 
without excluding some (5:9, 10; 22:5). So 5:9, 10 and 22:5 expand on 20:4, 5. An 
analogy is the crown of life, promised to those faithful unto death (2:10). It is elsewhere 
assured to all who endure testing, without specifying unto death (James 1:12). Rev 2:10 
can hold up the bright promise as a powerfully relevant encouragement in the crisis of 
martyrdom since Smyrna was one place where death was especially a peril for the 
saved. To be reminded of "life" which would overcome a martyr's death would be 
particularly meaningful when death could be so imminent. I. Howard Marshall, in 
evaluating and showing weaknesses of Kiddle's conception, argues rightly that blessings 
Christ promises the overcomer in Revelation 2-3 he pledges to all the redeemed in 
other passages of the Apocalypse {Kept By the Power of God [Minneapolis: Bethany 
Fellowship, 1975], 453-54, n. 3). 

3 Donald G. Barnhouse, Messages to the Seven Churches (Philadelphia: Eternity 
Book Service, 1953). He reasons that eating from the tree of life (2:7) is for only some 
of the saved, a blessing "in addition to salvation " (p. 38); the crown of life is only for 
"the select few whom He chooses to suffer with Him, even unto physical death," or 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 263 

third view, while not exhaustive, will hopefully show that this concep- 
tion does not adequately account for the biblical testimony. 

Every saved person 

All of the genuinely saved will turn out to be overcomers and 
receive the reward Christ promises them. 4 When Scripture is properly 
correlated, it supports this view. Considerations that point in this 
direction now follow. 

SUPPORT FOR THE THIRD VIEW 

1. 1 John 5:4, 5 more naturally favors this explanation. Verse 4 
says that whatever has been born of God overcomes the world. The 
key to being born of God is believing that Jesus is the Messiah (v 1). 
The key to overcoming, whether in this rebirth or in matters that 
follow, is faith (v 4b). Every person who believes that Jesus is the Son 
of God is an overcomer (v 5), just as everyone who believes that Jesus 
is the Messiah has been born of God (v 1). Believing in Jesus as the 
Messiah and as Son of God appears also in John 20:30, 31. There, 
those who believe have life (cf. 1 John 5:10, 11, 13). And in John 20 
as well as 1 John 5, the assertions embrace every saved person. 

Verse 4 shows that John is not claiming that the person by virtue 
of what he is in himself automatically is able to overcome. The power 
within him, the dynamic of God's life, is what overcomes. "Whatever 
is born of God" features the neuter gender, and draws attention to the 



those otherwise faithful (2:10; James 1:12, p. 47). Cf. also p. 84. Barnhouse, discussing 
some of the seven promises, does not follow through with remarks that suggest any 
such distinction, but expounds the aspects of reward just as if he thinks they are 
blessings all the saved will receive. This poses a question as to his consistency (cf. 2:17, 
pp. 56-57; 3:5, pp. 74-75; 3:21, pp. 94-95). Or, Barnhouse simply does not comment, 
as in the promise of not being hurt by the second death (2:1 1, p. 47). Cf. for this view 
also several master's theses at Dallas Theological Seminary: Ralph D. Richardson, 
"The Johannine Doctrine of Victory," 1955, pp. 20-29; R. R. Benedict, "The Use of 
Nikao in the Letters to the Seven Churches of Revelation," 1966, p. 13; Wm. R. Ross, 
Jr., "An Analysis of the Rewards and Judgments in Revelation 2 and 3," 1971, p. 20; 
Harlan D. Betz, "The Nature of Rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ," 1974, 
pp. 36-45. 

4 L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology (Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1948), 3.306; 
W. Robert Cook, The Theology of John (Chicago: Moody, 1979), 173-83; R. E. 
Manahan, "'Overcomes the World'— I John 5:4," M.Div. Thesis (Winona Lake, 
Indiana: Grace Theological Seminary, 1970), 38, 39; for a longer categorizing of views, 
cf. 28-43; William Newell, The Book of Revelation (Chicago: Moody, 1935), 42, 52, 
339; John R. W. Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1958), 97f., 118-25; Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation (Neptune, New 
Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1964), 108; John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus 
Christ (Chicago: Moody, 1966), 59 (2:7) and 98-99 (3:20). 



264 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

very principle of overcoming "in its most general and abstract form." 5 
It lays special focus on the victorious power, not the person himself. 
But in v 5 the focus turns to "the person who overcomes the world." 
God himself is the resource of victory as in 4:4: "You . . . have 
overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in 
the world" (cf. Christ as overcomer in John 16:33; Rev 5:5; 17:14). 

In v 4, literally, "For whatever has been born and is born of God 
(perfect tense) overcomes (present tense) the world." John adds: "and 
this is the victory that has overcome (vucrjaaaa) the world — our 
faith." The aorist can refer back to a definite act of victory over the 
world by faith at conversion, or any past resolute act or trend of 
rejecting error in doctrine after conversion (1 John 4:4), or a past 
by-faith life-style of having overcome the world gathered up as a 
whole, and, of course, including the other instances of overcoming 
(cf. eyvo) in 4:8). The last appears more probable in view of the 
perfect tense for being born, a fact that still stands true, and the 
present tense for a customary pattern preceding the aorist in v 4. 

Verse 5 goes on to utilize present tenses, quite plausibly cus- 
tomary or iterative presents, to denote the general overall pattern of 
overcoming for the Christian who believes in an ongoing sense (v 1, 
TuoTeuco, present tense) that Jesus is the Son of God. Later, in 
Revelation 2-3, "he who overcomes" is virtually the same as "he who 
believes." As Robertson says: ". . . nikao [is] a common Johannine 
verb. . . . Faith is dominant in Paul, victory in John, faith is victory 
(1 John 5:4). " 6 John also uses the present tense of viKdco in Revelation 
2-3, suggesting that continuing victory is characteristic of the saved 
just as continuing faith is (1 John 5:1). 

Does every saved person in fact overcome in the Christian 
struggle? In the biblical sense, yes. The context emphasizes attitudes 
of commitment that continue. For example, "whoever loves (v lb, 
present tense) the Father who begets loves (present tense) the one 
begotten by him," i.e., another saved person. Verses 2 and 3 stress 
that Christians manifest their love by love for God and obeying him. 
This obedience is not an irksome burden. The "for" which connects 
v 4 with v 3 links overcoming in v 4 with obedience through love in 
the Christian life that follows one's initial act of faith and his new 
birth. A distinction between two genuine Christians would not be that 
one overcomes the world in the present tense way that John means 
and the other does not. Rather, both overcome though one may 
overcome to a richer, more thorough degree than another. And any 
Christian might overcome to a further degree as he matures in Christ. 

5 Stott, 174. 

6 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in The New Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 
1930), 6.300. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 265 

2. 1 John 4:4 shows that the "little children" have "overcome 
them," i.e., every spirit of antichrist in the world. "Children" (xeKva) 
and "little children" (xeKvia) are common Johannine words for all 
believers. In 1 John, these words refer to all of the saved except for 
"children" of Satan (3:10) and possibly in 2:12. 7 Most instances 
definitely mean a// of the saved (2:1, 28; 3:1,2, 7, 10, 18; 4:4; 5:2, 21). 

God's power is the resource for overcoming; as John claims: 
"greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world" (4:4b). 
Reasonably, "you" finally applies to all of the saved, in that the 
resource of the Lord being greater is not limited to a special class 
among the saved. The contrast is between the saved — all of them — 
and those of the world. 

3. Rev 21:7 refers to any saved person. "He who overcomes shall 
inherit these things." The context conveys the natural impression that 
blessings the overcomer inherits are for any saved person. God shall 
dwell among his people (v 3); he wipes away every tear (v 4); there is 
no death, mourning, crying or pain (v 4); he makes all things new 
(v 5). The passage distinguishes most naturally between only two 
broad classes. If an interpreter claims he finds a third group, he reads 
it in from a preconceived system, not from a natural exegesis of what 
the text says. First, the text refers to the person who overcomes, 
inherits, and is a son of God (v 7). Then, it immediately contrasts 
those clearly unsaved, cowardly, unbelieving, who are not inheritors 
of the city but inhabitants of the lake of fire (v 8). The same contrast 
between two categories of people appears in these climactic verses 
(21:27; 22:11, 14, 15). In 21:27, all whose names are in the Lamb's 
book of life are marked off from any person who is "unclean" and 
"who practices abomination and lying." Those in the Lamb's book 
apparently have practiced a clean, godly life since being saved (cf. 3:4, 
5; 19:8; also cf. Titus 2:1 Iff.). That involves overcoming, though 
saints can differ in their degree of overcoming and in the suitable 
degree of reward! 

So it appears that, in distinction to the unsaved, John means that 
"he who overcomes" is any saved person. He is not one of a special 
class among the saved, a spiritual victor in contrast to a saint who is 
supposedly not a victor. 

7 In 2:12 the word possibly refers to the same group as 7rcu8ia in v 14. If so, John 
addresses the believers by three designations in the same order, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. In v 18, 
rcaiSia seems to mean all the believers. If xeKvia in v 12 means all the born again, it of 
course would fit well with our view in 4:4. Even if it distinguishes one group among the 
born again, the recent converts (a sense different from its usage in the rest of 1 John), it 
would not actually detract from our view. This is because teKvta has well-established 
reference to all the born again everywhere else in 1 John (except 3:10). And 4:4 appears 
to bear this sense. 



266 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

4. The overall concept in 1 John gives one confidence that John 
thinks of all who are born of God as overcomers. Real obedience can 
assure one that he indeed knows Christ (2:4). A person who hates a 
brother in that pervasive, continuing pattern that John's present tense 
embraces in a sweep is not a bona fide Christian. He never was, for 
John carefully tells us that he "is in darkness until now [or even now, 
i.e., he is still there]" (2:9). John does not say that he is in darkness in 
some particular experience of the moment only. Later, not only some 
of the saved but "every one" who has his hope in Christ purifies 
himself as Christ is pure (3:3; cf. Titus 2:1 Iff.). He does that in the 
dynamic of faith which overcomes (5:4, 5), enabled by the One within 
him (4:4b). Faith sets the desire at work within him to be like his 
Savior. At the same time, "anyone" who does not practice righteous- 
ness in the present tense way is not of God (3:10). 

John insists that in "every one" who is a Christian there will 
emerge distinct characteristics of an authentically overcoming life. 
These are characteristics such as obedience, loving a brother, purify- 
ing the life, practicing righteousness, and being kept from the evil one 
(cf. 5:18). The frequent present tense suggests an overall trend of life. 
This is not a set, static mold but dynamic. It allows for growth; it 
does not denote absolute, sinless perfection now! In fact, while John 
insists on marks of a Christian life-style for one who has eternal life, 
and even boldly claims that one who is born of God does not sin, 8 he 



8 This may be variously explained. Zane Hodges relates 3:6, 9 to the saved "when 
he is viewed only as 'abiding' or as one who is 'born of God.' That is, sin is never the 
product of our abiding experience ... of the regenerate self per se." He adduces 
Rom 7:20-25; Paul sins, yet can say "It is no longer I that do it" (The Gospel Under 
Siege: A Study on Faith and Works [Dallas: Redencion Viva, 1981], 60). H. Bonar 
argues that "cannot" (as 3:6) need not deny absolutely that a thing can occur but that it 
is "wholly against the nature of things," e.g., Matt 7:18, "a good tree cannot bring forth 
evil fruit" contrary to its nature, though it sometimes does; Mark 2:19, men "cannot" 
fast while the Bridegroom is with them; it is incongruous and unnatural; Luke 11:7b; 
14:20; John 7:7; 8:43, etc. (God's Way of Holiness [Chicago: Moody, (n.d.)], 99; 
similarly, though arguing differently, R. E. O. White, An Open Letter to Evangelicals 
[Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964], 86). I. H. Marshall refers 3:6, 9 to what the Christian 
ought to be, his ideal character, free from sin insofar as he abides; it is an eschatological 
fact, conditioned on "if he lives in Christ" (The Epistles of John [Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1978], 180-84). Cf. John R. W. Stott's arguments against an ideal \\tw (The 
Epistles of John [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964], 132-34). Stott himself favors a 
common view that the present tenses refer to sin as an overall, habitual pattern without 
the victory that Christ gives when he is within (pp. 131-32). C. C. Ryrie, a colleague of 
Hodges, inclines to this view ("The First Epistle of John," The Wycliffe Bible 
Commentary, ed. C. Pfeiffer and E. F. Harrison (Chicago: Moody, 1962), 1473; 
similarly Leon Morris, "1 John, 2 John, 3 John," New Bible Commentary: Revised 
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 1265; A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in The New 
Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 1933), 6.222. Sin as a pattern also appears to be in 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 267 

is aware that acts of sin can break into the experience of real 
Christians (1:9, 2:1, aorist tense twice; 3:3, implied possibility). But, 
while aggressive for a godly life-style, he shows that God in Christ has 
graciously made provision to forgive and cleanse sin when the one 
born of God does falter (1:7, 9; 2:1, 2). 

5. If in Revelation 2-3 God will admit some saved persons into 
eternal blessing but not the aspects of reward meant for the over- 
comer, these chapters never spell out what their aspects of blessing 
will be. The curtain of silence drawn on a distinguishable future for a 
non-overcoming group of the saved provokes a serious question. 
Does such a saved group, which is to gain some reward distinct in its 
essential nature from that of committed believers, in fact exist? 

The rest of the Book of Revelation does not mark off such a 
group in a convincingly recognizable way. A multitude of overcomers 
in 15:2 partake of certain privileges beyond this life. If some of the 
saved in heaven have not overcome, God never definitely distinguishes 
them as being in a special category and extends them any encourage- 
ment, such as "You at least have eternal life; you will dwell in the 
presence of the Lord forever." The book nowhere identifies any saved 
who enter into any kind of ultimate blessing except those naturally 
understood as overcomers, who are marked by obedience to the 
Word of God (as 3:8, 10; 6:9; 12:11; 13:8; 14:9-12; 22:7, 9, 11). 
Passages which say directly that eternal life is free (1:5; 7:14, 21:6; 
22:14, 17) are no exception to this. They can be grasped in relation to 
their contexts, rather than misconstrued in isolation or in inept cor- 
relations with other texts. Other verses in the contexts nearby usually 
refer to the life-style that the people of faith live, which manifests the 
faith that received the gift and works in channels of committed love, 
as in Gal 5:6 (22:7, 9, 11, 12). In 21:6, access to the water of life is 
"without cost." Yet in 7:9, 15-18 access to the springs of the water of 
life is a blessing after the saints wash their robes in Christ's blood and 

view in Gal 5:21, where it can keep a man from inheriting God's kingdom in that it 
reflects lack of faith that works through love (5:6). John Murray relates 1 John 3:6, 9 
to the sin of rejecting Christ, denying that he has come in the flesh, that he is the Son 
of God, a specific sin as in certain other texts (John 9:41; 15:22; 1 John 4:2, 3; 5:1, etc.) 
("Definitive Sanctification," Calvin Theological Journal 21 [1967] 10-13). Murray, 
however, does not sufficiently explain the present tense, which John uses often in 
contrasts between godly aspects and sins in general, such as loving or not loving 
(cf., for example, often in 3:4-10 which contrasts sons of God and sons of the devil, as 
compared with the aorist tense twice in 2:1). 

Sin sometimes does not appear to be the specific sin Murray has in mind. Any of 
the above views is compatible with the concept that every saved person is an 
overcomer. At this juncture it appears best to see true elements in each view but agree 
most fully with Ryrie and Stott; to argue sufficiently would demand another article, 
but cf. Stott's rather detailed reasoning. 



268 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

come out of great tribulation. The saints involved indeed "paid the 
price" in terms of commitment that lived out faith, being true to 
Christ's cause; but they did not pay any "cost" in the sense of earning 
or meriting access to that water of life! Jesus paid it all by his blood 
(7:14)! 

NT passages outside the Apocalypse refer to all of the saved in 
terms which classify them as victors in other ways. So they are 
plausibly victors in their life-styles as well, in some vital degree. Paul 
sees all the saved as victors over death (1 Cor 15:54) and over every 
threat in general (Rom 8:37). His statement in 8:37 follows in context 
after 8:14 which shows what characterizes the saved: "as many as are 
led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." Paul is convinced that 
those persons are true sons of God who are led by God's Spirit. If this 
characteristic reveals the real sons, the life-styles of the sons evidently 
feature some degree of overcoming. 

6. There are reasonable solutions to the problems of this pre- 
ferred view. Many reactions turn out to be "straw men" made from 
the stuff of misconceptions about how certain details best integrate 
into a harmonious, overall picture. 

Take, for instance, this claim: many who are saved do not, in 
fact, overcome. Evaluation: If we do not decide by rare cases like 
death-bed converts or the thief on the cross, we may still acknowledge 
that every saved person with normal time and opportunity fails to 
overcome some or many times in his life-span following his new birth. 
All fall short of absolute, sinless perfection. Still, the real point is that 
the Bible by its terminology describes the saved person as belonging 
within a general class of people. He follows in the direction of faith 
toward God in the thrust of his life. Christ's words embrace all the 
saved, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow 
Me . . ." (John 10:27). Admittedly, these sheep are inconsistent. At 
times they wander, follow at a strained distance, or temporarily go in 
the opposite direction from God's will, as in Ps 119:176. Jonah is a 
further example. Yet Jesus did not hesitate to define his people, all of 
them, as those who "hear" and "follow." These words in the present 
tense look at more than the initial act of faith alone. They do look at 
this, to be sure, but also survey the sweep of their lives, the basic 
direction and bent of character and action. The sheep persist despite 
failures along life's trail. Some true followers of Christ may overcome 
to a lesser degree than others, but all fit within the panorama of 
Jesus' words. 

Hodges unfortunately diminishes the statement of John 10:27 
into a myopic either/ or logic: ". . . the term 'follow' is simply another 
Johannine metaphor for saving faith. ... It is a mistake to construe 
the word 'follow' in John 10:27 as though it indicates something 
about the future of the believer's experience after he receives eternal 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 269 

life. In fact, it has nothing to do with it at all. . . ." 9 This does not 
appear to hold up because: 

(1) "Follow" in its usage applies both to the first step in respond- 
ing to Christ for salvation and to the subsequent process of the life as 
believers. The word "to follow," &koA.ou0£(d, often appears to relate 
to the entire sweep of obedient discipleship and is not confined only 
to initial salvation in John's Gospel (8:12; 10:4, 5; 12:26, "follow" 
seems co-extensive with "serve"; 21:19, 22, both refer to Peter after he 
was saved initially). The other gospels use the term also in a far wider 
sense than only the beginning step of faith (Matt 4:20; 8:19, 22, 23; 
19:27, 28; Lk 9:23, "daily"; 9:57, "wherever you go"; 9:62, following 
Jesus involves putting one's hand to the plow and going on with it 
along the furrow; 18:28; cf. Rev 14:4, etc.). "Hear" and "follow," like 
the word "abides" in John 6:56, even become characteristics of the 
truly saved. 

(2) It is grammatically natural, in view of present indicative 
actives aKououaiv and &KoXou0oOaiv, to relate the statement even to 
general life-style. To bind the verbs only to the initial act of faith 
appears shortsighted. 

(3) Relating the verbs to ongoing lives fits the natural, pastoral 
metaphor of "sheep" that Jesus selects (10:2-5). A shepherd put his 
sheep out for the day and then went ahead of them. They "heard" and 
"followed" him, not simply in the first act of coming after him but for 
all day and many days. 

(4) Hodges draws a questionable conclusion as to Jesus' placing 
his promise to "give them eternal life" (v 28) after "hear" and 
"follow." He reasons that if "hear" and "follow" relate at all to 
believers after initial salvation the order of the promise demands that 
believers must have followed to earn the eternal life. But contrary to 
his fears, "hear" and "follow" pose no element incompatible with 
eternal life through grace. The order is similar to that in Matt 19:29. 
There, to all who in faith sacrificially have left houses, lands, and 
loved ones for Jesus' sake, he will give many times as much (Mk 10:29 
and Lk 18:29 say in this life) and eternal life. While from one 
perspective he can give eternal life already now initially in grace, he 
can also promise life in its full potential for blessing in its ultimate, 
crowning sense as the greatest prospect of grace that can encourage 
believers. A life of faith that works through obedient love leads on to 
the finest realization of all that is worthwhile; it can never turn out to 
have been in vain! 

This interpretation is more reasonable than Hodges' system, 
which sees eternal life now as a free gift but construes eternal life in 
its future aspect as "a reward merited" by obedience. 10 

9 Hodges, Gospel Under Siege, 44-45. 
10 Hodges, Gospel Under Siege, 82. 



270 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

Some reject the view this article defends on another claim. They 
misconstrue it as tantamount to saying that none of the saved can 
backslide. Lang charges: "It avoids and nullifies the solemn warnings 
and urgent pleadings of the Spirit addressed -to believers, and, by 
depriving the Christian of these, leaves him dangerously exposed to 
the perils they reveal. . . ." n 

Evaluation: First, it is a "straw man" argument to insist that the 
logic of the favored view means none of the saved can backslide. 
Actually, while all the truly saved will be overcomers, all can and still 
do commit sins in this life (James 3:2). Never in this life will they 
scale heights beyond the need for further purification from sins 
(1 John 3:3). Christ has made provision for this need when they sin 
(1 John 2:1, 2). Some flounder in sad seasons of spiritual failure, but 
do not lose salvation even if for a time they seem no longer to have it. 
New revivals may be needed to stir them afresh to a closer walk with 
God, but Christ's marks of his true sheep are that they "hear" and 
"follow." The overcoming vitality of God-given faith (cf. 1 John 5:4, 
5) and care as a practical dynamic doggedly continues to reassert 
itself in their experience (cf. Ps 119:176). And in a total lifetime as 
believers God's people will, despite times of decline, bear some fruit 
(Rom 6:22). 

Second, a trait of true faith is that it gives a heart to heed God's 
warnings, gain victory (1 John 5:4, 5), and forge on with him. Those 
whose believing on the Savior is backed by reality continue with him, 
as in John 8:31 and John 15: 1—6. 12 The truly saved ones are the brand 
of people who, when they sin, confess, seek God's forgiveness and 
cleansing, and desire to live in the light with God (1 John 1:5-9). If 
they are negligent here, God may take them home to heaven early 
(1 Cor 1 1:30-32). That those who "believed" in John 8:30, or at least 
some among them, were not genuinely saved is the natural import of 
Jesus' words directly aimed at his audience in the following verses (vv 
31-49). While "believe" in the Gospel of John usually refers to true 
faith, the term can even be used for a superficial belief that does not 
turn out to be properly based and genuine (2:23; 7:31; 12:42; cf. 6:66). 

Third, the favored view allows the possibility that some may for 
a time be thought to be true believers, yet not heed the warnings, and 
end up unsaved. This does not reveal that they lost salvation but that 
they lacked it all along. This is true despite the fact that they 
professed allegiance to the Lord, as in Matt 7:23 and 1 John 2:19. 



"Lang, Revelation, 91-92. 

12 Cf. J. E. Rosscup, Abiding in Christ: Studies in John 15 (Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1973): those in 15:1-6 who do not abide and bear fruit (v 15:2a etc.) are 
not saved and never were (cf. all the saved abiding in John 6:54, 56). 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 271 

A further objection against the preferred view is the context of 
Revelation 2-3. This material concerns churches, Christians, and 
their works. So, the argument goes, the issue of salvation has already 
been settled and the passage cannot pertain to salvation; it only 
relates to Christian living of the surely saved. Evaluation: Christ is 
speaking to churches! But often NT passages which address believers 
weave in warnings that lift an appeal even to the unsaved. These, 
mingled among the saved, may fancy themselves as saved and be 
insensitive to their need. The tough words register a healthy, sobering 
effect on two groups. First are those who really are saved but are 
living in backslidden slackness. Second, some among the fellowships 
might not prove to have been in fact begotten of God. Their charac- 
ter, attitudes, words and works can betray their barrenness, and they 
stand in grave peril. So the issue of salvation can be relevant even in a 
church context. The lack of salvation's fruit and bearing of bad fruit 
can reveal men as counterfeit or at least place them under suspicion. 

In the church at Pergamum "those who hold" the teachings of 
Balaam, who support idolatry and immorality (2:14), are probably 
not saved. One might, of course, allow himself to fall into immorality 
as David did, then recover in sterling repentance (Ps 51). Still, the NT 
even in church contexts associates a life pattern of immorality with 
the sobering peril of not inheriting the future kingdom. Failure to 
inherit the kingdom due to tolerating a sinfully indulgent life-style 
must mean that one will turn out not to be saved (1 Cor 6:9-1 1; Gal 
5:21; Eph 5:3-5; cf. n. 17). Also, other NT references to Balaam do 
not register the impression that we are to think of him as saved or as 
ever having been saved (2 Pet 2:15; cf. v 17; Jude 1 1 13 ). Those in the 
church or under the influence of the church's message who follow the 
Balaam-like teaching of the Nicolaitans, if they do not repent, will 
find Christ waging war against them with the sword of his mouth 
(Rev 2:16)! Since the kind of war that Christ pursues with the sword 
of his mouth is later clearly against the "beast," "false prophet," and 
their unsaved hosts (19:1 Iff.), the guilty ones in the church context of 
Pergamum are likewise probably unsaved. They need to repent and 
gain the real faith. 

Another criticism of the proposed view lies in the question: if all 
the saved are sure to overcome and receive the crown, why does 
Rev 3:11 warn lest one lose the crown? 14 Ironside, favoring a varia- 
tion of view two as described at the outset of this article, held that 

13 Jude 1 1 combines the "error of Balaam" with "the way of Cain" and "the 
rebellion of Korah." Cain is unsaved unless 1 John 3:12 is misconstrued. Jude, by 
linking Balaam and Korah with Cain, suggests that he, assuming agreement with John 
about Cain, thinks them unsaved. 

,4 Betz, "The Nature of Rewards," 36. 



272 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

one saved man may "take"/or himself the very crown of reward that 
another saved person might have gained. 15 He illustrates. A Christian 
gospel tract distributor, discouraged by seeing little fruit, gave up his 
ministry. Later he spotted another Christian man fulfilling his old 
task in the same vicinity. The man even handed him a tract. Smitten 
with heart-broken remorse, the recipient cried, "Oh, you have taken 
away my crown!" However, Rev 3:11 more probably refers to an 
unsaved persecutor who can "take" the crown from a person who has 
only a professed relationship with Christ and his church. The victim 
permits an enemy of his soul to first seduce him away from com- 
mitting himself in true faith, and then from living the life of faith that 
leads on to the crown (as James 1:12; Rev 2:10, indeed all the crown 
passages). So the seducer does not by his work against Christ's cause 
take the crown for himself We prevents his victim from gaining it. A 
person even in the church membership or attendance may fail to gain 
the crown in that he turns away from the things Christ summons him 
to face steadfastly. When put to the test, he denies the Lord and the 
faith. And so, having never genuinely received the free gift of eternal 
life to begin with, he fails finally to secure the crown which consists of 
eternal life. Christ promises this crown to those trusting him in real 
faith that results in faithfulness (2:10; cf. Eph 2:10). 

This interpretation differs from Ironside's and is the probable 
meaning of 3:11 because: (1) False leaders diverted many in the OT 
(Ezek 22:25-28) and the NT (Matt 24:11; Gal 5:7; Col 2:4; 2 Tim 
2:17, 18; Rev 2:14, 15, 20-25). (2) Rev 3:11 is similar in thrust to cases 
where men prevent others from an effectual relationship with God 
and entering into his kingdom (Matt 23:13; Luke 11:52). (3) The 
exhortation to "hold fast what you have" is compatible with the 
preferred view. Those surely saved will heed the exhortation, per- 
severe, and hold what they do have. But others, though mingling in a 
local church and claiming a relationship, do not genuinely possess it 
(cf. Rev. 2:24; 3:4 in context). They are allowing someone opposed to 
God to take from them — to prevent from being theirs in reality — what 
they could have by true faith. So far they only think they have the 
reality (cf. Luke 8:18). (4) God can take away a man's part from the 
tree of life (Rev 22:19). He does not take it for himself but prevents 
the man from gaining what potentially might have been his, because 
the person has not really grasped the privilege by faith. Rather, he 
has worked against God. 

To be finally deprived of the crown does not infer, then, that a 
person at one time was genuinely saved and qualifying for it but later 
is not. The idea is not the forfeiture of salvation one has. It is the 

15 H. A. Ironside, Salvation and Reward (New York: Loizeaux Brothers [n.d.]), 
31-32. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 273 

tragedy of losing out on what potentially might be given. None of the 
truly elect will turn away from Christ and fail to heed his warning 
and persevere: all will gain the crown that the context specifies, 
namely "the crown which consists of [eternal] life" (Rev 2:10). 16 

Still a further objection to the favored view is this. Exhortations 
in Revelation 2-3 can be relevant only for the saved because the Bible 
never makes an appeal to the unsaved about works. For the unsaved 
works are not the issue. God's summons to them is to believe. 
Evaluation: This generalization overlooks much in the Bible. Cer- 
tainly it is true that no man can merit salvation by works. Yet this is 
not incompatible with another emphasis, that God calls on men to do 
the works they can do by faith if they only will respond to God's 
grace. God appeals to Cain (Gen 4:7), and Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar 
(Dan 4:27). John the Baptist calls on religious but unsaved men to 
bring forth fruit that corresponds with repentance (Matt 3:8). Paul is 
concerned for those at Corinth, some of whom may prove to be 
"rejected" (&ookiuoi), not having Christ in them (2 Cor 13:5-7). 

Then, some reject this view due to what they believe about 
church membership. They reason that the standards Revelation 2-3 
describes for the overcomer fit some Christians but are not true of all 
of the saved in churches. They do not imply this with regard to 
churches that do not pervasively teach the Bible, but Bible-teaching 
churches. Scores in these churches do not appear to experience 
anything that convincingly links them with an overcoming life. Yet, 
the logic assumes, they must be saved. Evaluation: Scores do not 
appear to know this overcoming life, but all genuine Christians do, at 
least in some degree. Even in the days of Jesus, John, and Paul, many 
punctiliously bound themselves to certain forms of belief and conduct. 
But they lacked the reality with God that real faith fosters. 

Others react against the proposed view by rejecting a caricature, 
a straw man they have erected. They imagine that it requires unrealis- 
tically that a Christian measure up to an ideal, super life to be a real 
Christian and an overcomer. Evaluation: As in other NT descriptions 
of Christian living (i.e., abiding, being a disciple, serving, following 
Christ as sheep, mortifying the flesh, loving Christ, enduring trials, 

16 The Father and Christ secure the saved in their hand from falling out of 
salvation. No one will pluck them out (John 10:28, 29). Christ defined his "sheep" as 
those who "hear" and "follow" (cf. Sect. 2, No. 6 of this article), not implying that such 
sheep can be lost again if they cease to persevere, as if they may not persevere, but to 
assume that they surely do persevere. God's preservation further assures their per- 
severance. One has to read into the passage what it does not say to have it teach that 
some defined as true sheep may, on their own initiative, fall, jump, or wiggle out of 
God's hand. Christ also prays for preservation of the saved (John 17:1 1, 12, 15, 24), as 
he prayed Peter's faith would not fail, and it did not, though sorely tested (Luke 22:31, 
32; cf. Rom 8:34). 



274 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

etc.), the difference between two real Christians is not that one is 
overcoming in the overall picture while the other is not. The real 
difference is that one is overcoming to a fuller, deeper, or more 
thoroughly consistent degree than the other. The extent of Christian 
commitment, maturity, receptivity to the Word of God, and aban- 
donment to God's will enter into this matter. Two bona fide Chris- 
tians may be at widely different stages of growth in regard to these 
and yet both be overcoming, manifesting the fruit of faith to men or 
to God or both in differing degrees, measure and consistency. 

A final objection is this. The "crown of life" supposedly denotes 
a special capacity to enjoy "eternal life," sometimes said to be distinct 
from or added to "eternal life" that every saved person will have. 17 

17 Cf. this and similar views in Benedict, "The Use of Nikao," 13-15; Ross, 
"Rewards and Judgments," 19-20; Hodges, The Hungry Inherit: Refreshing Insights 
on Salvation, Discipleship, and Rewards (Chicago: Moody, 1972), 113-14, 119; and 
Hodges, Gospel Under Siege, en toto. Hodges insists rightly that eternal life is free to 
the sinner. Then he has a problem with the concept that Christ promises aspects of 
reward to the overcomer as encouragements for discipleship that can be costly (The 
Hungry Inherit, 1 14). He distinguishes truly committed believers who will inherit the 
future kingdom from other saved men who only enter it (cf. also his Gospel Under 
Siege, 115-16, 120). In Scripture, however, to "inherit the kingdom" and to "enter the 
kingdom" are, for all intents and purposes synonymous (B. Klappert, "Kind," The New 
International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown [Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1976], 2.387-88). Leon Morris defines K^rjpovoueou in 1 Cor 6:10 as 
"enter into full possession of" (The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians [Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1958], 97). G. Abbott-Smith defines the word "to inherit . . . 
possess oneself of, receive as one's own, obtain ... of the Messianic Kingdom . . . and 
its blessings and privileges" (A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament [Edin- 
burgh: T. & T. Clark, 1956], 248). All the saved will receive = obtain = inherit the 
blessings, each in what God deems the appropriate degree, position, capacity, role of 
higher service (Rev 22:3) appropriate to the way in which they prepared for this in 
present service (cf. Luke 19:17, 19; 1 Cor 3:8, etc.). Yet God's rewarding is not strictly 
tit for tat but on an order of lavish grace that far exceeds any human calculation or any 
idea of earning. Observe the "hundred times as much," or "many times," and "eternal 
life besides" in Matt 19:29 with its parallels, and cf. 2 Cor 4:17f. 

Another Hodges' distinction allows eternal life to be a gift to all the saved, but 
heirship and sonship not a gift, rather earned by only some of the saved through 
faithful living (The Hungry Inherit, 119). So, in Rev 21:6, 7 where we see one class, 
Hodges makes two (772? Hungry Inherit, 113-14): one thirsts and receives freely as a 
gift the water of life, a second overcomes and inherits! This scheme fails to integrate 
both aspects as true of the one category of person who is both in the New Jerusalem 
and inherits it, who contrasts with a second class that is excluded in v 8. Actually, in 
Revelation 21-22 every saved person enjoys every blessing described in the context. 
Hodges brings his distinction into the text against the more natural sense of things the 
text sees as a unit. The NT is clear that eternal life is a gift, yet is compatible with this 
in saying that eternal life as this gift is the fitting blessed outcome of a way of life lived 
in faith through grace for the sake of Christ, his gospel, his kingdom (Matt 19:29 = 
Mark 10:29 = Luke 18:29; cf. Rom 6:22). Sonship is a gift when one is initially saved 
(John 1:12), like heirship (Rom 4:13). But alas, Hodges unveils another artificial 
distinction: all the saved will inherit glory, but only co-sufferers, overcomers will 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 275 

The logic of this claim is that God does not confer eternal life as a 
blessing that can be called a reward for men being faithful in life's 
struggles; he bestows life as a free gift which they receive by faith. A 
Christian already "has" eternal life in the present tense (1 John 5:11, 
12), whereas the "crown" refers to "life" Christians are to receive in a 
yet future sense. Evaluation: Eternal life is both, in a beautifully 
compatible relationship. It is a gift now and always (Rom 6:23), and 
it is, in its future, ultimate aspect, also the goal or outcome to which a 
life of sanctification moves (Rom 6:22; Gal 6:8), a life lived "for my 
sake" (Matt 19:29). Only those who genuinely do receive eternal life 
as a gift now will share in eternal life in its crowning realization at the 
Lord's appearing. And they are the people who now live a life with 
fruit to God in some real degree, a life which answers to the marks of 
genuineness that keep cropping up in 1 John (2:3, 4, etc.). 

As to merit, eternal life is always a gift absolutely dependent only 
on the work of Christ. As to manifestation, the quality that is eternal 
life is expressed now and also is the final goal, outcome, or reward 
related to the reality of faith which lives the quality of life out into 
good works. These works are fruit of the eternal life genuinely 
already within (Rom 6:22). They are not conditions that merit eternal 



inherit in a greater, more special sense as co-heirs with Christ in Rom 8:16, 17 and 
2 Tim 2:12 (Gospel Under Siege, 109-1 1). This idea melts when one sees that suffering 
with Christ affects all the saved in some degree and form in Rom 8:16, 17; 2 Cor 1:5; 
2 Tim 2:11; 1 Pet 4:12, 13. John Murray says: " 'Joint-heirs with Christ' is not a loftier 
conception than 'heirs of God' but it gives concrete expression and elucidation to what 
is involved in being 'heirs of God'" (NICNT The Epistle to the Romans [Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968], 1.298-99). C. E. B. Cranfield says that ". . . ouyicXripovouoi 
8e xpiO"xo0 expresses the certainty of our hope. Our sonship and our heirship rest on 
our relation to Him, on His having claimed us for His own. But he has already entered 
upon the inheritance for which we have still to wait, and this fact is the guarantee that 
we too, who are His joint-heirs, will enjoy the fulfilment of our expectations" (A 
Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, [2 vols.; ICC; 
Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975], 1.407). All the saved in the New Jerusalem reign with 
God and His Son (Rev 22:5; cf. the throne of God and of the Lamb in v 3). Biblically- 
valid thinking is that every son of God (= every saved person) is an heir, the one 
legitimate kind of heir of which the Bible speaks (Gal 4:7; Heb 11:7). Heirship links 
with grace (1 Pet 3:7), promise (Gal 3:29), and forgiveness of all the saved (Acts 26:18; 
Eph 1:7, 11). Saved Jews and Gentiles are fellow-heirs (Eph 3:6). Heirs are all the 
sanctified (Acts 20:32), and without sanctification no man will see the Lord (Heb 
12:14). Everyone effectually called under the New Covenant is to receive the eternal 
inheritance (Heb 9:15), based on Christ's blood (vv 12, 14). All the saved will obtain 
the imperishable inheritance ( 1 Pet 1 :4), which links easily with the unfading crown of 
glory (5:4). So Christ even speaks of inheriting eternal life (Matt 19:29; cf. Heb 1:14). 
Paul says that the ones who will not inherit the kingdom are the unrighteous (1 Cor 
6:9f.), not a class of saved who are not so committed. 

In view of biblical evidence rightly correlated, the overcomer/ heir in Rev 21:7 is 
any saved person. 



276 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

life but characteristics that manifest its presence. This is just as apples 
are not the conditions of the tree being an apple tree but the 
characteristics of the apple-tree nature. The blessings God gives to the 
overcomer as reward he does not tender with the understanding that 
the person has merited them in life's struggles or paid a price that 
earns them. Rev 21:6 shouts from the text that the water of life is 
"without cost" to the overcomer, though it cost God much. Yet this 
water of life is only one of various descriptions of blessedness 
celebrated in 21:3-6, and immediately v7 relates God's grace and 
what it bestows with "the overcomer shall inherit these things." 
Contrary to any intrusion of the word "merit," what one receives for 
his overcoming — all of it — is "without cost!" So, we impose a distinc- 
tion from our own errant logic that we cannot validly draw from the 
Bible if we imagine that we receive eternal life originally by faith 
through grace but receive the "crown of life" in the future because we 
deserved it on some order of merit-laden good works by faith. The 
process of the saved life is just as totally of grace as initial salvation 
(cf. 1 Cor 3:10a; 4:8; 15:10; Phil 2:12, 13). M'Neile rightly says from 
Matthew that ". . . since the opportunities for good actions are 
themselves a divine gift (xxv.l4f.), service is a mere duty which 
cannot merit reward (Luke sxvii.9f.)." 18 Reicke emphasizes that it is 
"God's due to require our obedience and readiness on account of the 
advance we have already received from him, and this is pure grace, 
without any merits on our side. . . ." 19 Preisker reasons that anything 
one can ever do that God will accept as a legitimate carrying out of 
his will must be done in "living power . . . given by God." 20 

PROMISES TO THE OVERCOMER FIT THE FAVORED VIEW 

Several blessings Christ assures to the overcomer definitely will 
be applied to all the saved. Others also fit very reasonably. A mere 
selection of examples should show that this is true. 

/. Rev 2:7 

When man sinned in Genesis 3 the Lord barred him from eating 
of the tree of life "lest he live forever." Christ promises the overcomer 
that he will eat of this tree in the future (Rev 22:2, 14, 19). Whether 
the eating is a memorial of living forever, or enjoying some blessed 



18 Alan M'Neile, The Gospel According to St. Matthew (London: Macmillan & 
Co., 1915), 55. 

19 Bo Reicke, "The New Testament Conception of Reward," in Aux Sources de la 
Tradition Chretienne. Melanges offerts a Maurice GogueL ed. J. J. von Allmen (Paris, 
1950), 197. 

20 H. Preisker, >ia06?," TDNT 4 (1967) 718-19. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 277 

aspect of the eternal city that we do not yet understand, the blessing 
must be true of all the redeemed. In 22:14 it appears that all the 
genuinely saved partake. Why? First, the verse closely links access to 
the tree and admission into the New Jerusalem. God will admit all of 
the saved within the gates. If so, it is natural to assume that the other 
blessing as well is for all of the saved unless there is a compelling 
reason why it cannot be. Second, either of two readings in 22:14a fits 
very easily with the idea that all of the saved partake. Some manu- 
scripts favor the wording, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, 
that they may have right to the tree. . . ." 21 This suits all the saved. 
When the Apocalypse refers to garments, it never refers to a group 
with unwashed or unclean robes receiving any of God's blessing. 
Those admitted into his presence are clad in washed garments (7:14); 
have not soiled their (spiritual) garments (3:4; 16:15); will walk with 
Christ in white linen (3:5; 7:9; 19:8). 

Even another reading in 22:14 fits all the redeemed: "Blessed are 
those who do his commandments, that they may have right to the 
tree. . . ." This does not focus on the way they are saved, as if their 
doing runs up a score of merit. Rather it looks at their characteristic 
as the truly saved, the obedience that manifests the faith that takes 
God's gracious gift. It is like John 10:27, 28 where Jesus profiled his 
true sheep as those who "hear" and "follow" him. Both words, in the 
present tense, look at a continuing, overall pattern of commitment in 
faith lived out through faithfulness. Yet eternal life is God's gift 
(v 28)! 

The Apocalypse consistently views those blessed in God's king- 
dom as people who kept his Word (1:3; 22 12:17; 14:12; 22:7, 9). They 

21 The reading "those who wash their robes" (cf. 7:14, 1 Cor. 6:1 1) is favored by 8, 
A, ca. fifteen minuscules (1006, 2020, 2053, etc.), it, vg, cop, al. Another reading, 
"those who do his commandments," appears in the Textus Receptus, 046, most 
minuscules, it 8 ' 8 , syr ph , h, cop bo , al. Bruce M. Metzger prefers the first reading, most 
notably because the Apocalypse elsewhere has xripeiv xdq tvzoXac, (12:17; 14:12; also 
cf. tripeiv in 1:3; 22:7, 9), not rcoieco xaq, tvxoXac, (A Textual Commentary on the 
Greek New Testament [New York: United Bible Societies, 1975], 765-66). (noieco in 
1 John 5:2 is not enough to offset this pattern.) 

22 "Blessed" (1:3) occurs seven times in the book. Some blessings are of the nature 
that all the saved receive (19:9; 20:6; 22:7); others fit a pattern of references that apply 
to all the saved (1:3; 14:13, blessing for tribulation saints but applicable to all the 
saved; 22:14); then 16:15 refers to a tribulation saint who is spiritually alert, agreeing 
with exhortations to watch, wait, or look. These sometimes appear in contexts 
developing contrasts between people who are not prepared, who turn out to be 
unsaved, and people who are prepared, who turn out to be saved (Matt 24:37-51; 
25:1-13; 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; 1 Thess 5:6). References to wait also fit this pattern 
(Luke 12:36; Gal 5:5; 1 Thess 1:10), as do other passages about waiting where the 
context favors application to all the saved (Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 1:7; 2 Thess 3:5). The 
same is true of verses about looking (Phil 3:20; Titus 2:13; Heb 9:28; 2 Pet 3:12, 13; 
Jude 21). 



278 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

persevered in fidelity because of that Word (1:9; 6:9; 20:4). This 
harmonizes naturally with the line of biblical truth that keeping God's 
commandments is a hallmark of the saved. 23 

In 22:19, to be excluded from the tree sounds like being barred 
from a privilege any saved person is to enjoy. The person God denies 
is not a saved, albeit unfruitful person who misses special reward, set 
in contrast to a fruitful one who gains that reward. He is unsaved, 
regardless of his profession, so God distinguishes him from the saved. 

2. Rev 2:11 

The overcomer will not suffer "hurt" by the second death. This is 
a privilege of all the saved, whether or not they become martyrs, the 
peril that looms in this passage. Faithfulness in trials, even when 
martyrdom is not a result, leads to the crown of life, as James 1:12 
shows. But the crown of life (positive) and avoiding the second death 
(negative) still have powerful relevance to any of the saved who face 
the imminent threat of sealing their testimonies with their blood. An 
example close at hand is "Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put 
to death among you" (v 13). Christ exhorts his people, when sub- 
jected to this extremity, to be faithful, inspired by his consolation 
here. After they have laid down their physical lives, God assures them 
the triumph of eternal, spiritual life; and they will not experience the 
ultimate death which is unutterably worse than physical death. They, 
with Paul, can exult that "death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor 
15:54). And they can say, "O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where 
is thy victory?" (v 55). 24 

An effort to argue that only some of the saved are overcomers 
who gain this crown is based on the idea of being hurt or injured 
(d5iK8(o) by the second death. The logic is that a saved person who is 
not an overcomer can be hurt by this death in a sense which the saved 
man who is an overcomer eludes. Benedict supplies the example of a 
saved person in jeopardy of becoming a martyr at the hands of 
unsaved men who are destined for the second death. Should that 
believer recant and deny Christ, the second death would "hurt" him. 
In what sense? Benedict explains: "he would thus forfeit the crown of 
life, and be in that sense injured, hurt, or affected by the second 
death." 25 He holds that the person remains saved but loses out on 
gaining the special crown, a reward distinct from salvation. 

23 Cf. Ps 37:34; 103:18; Ezek 18:9, 21; Dan 9:4 (a verse that links loving God with 
keeping his commandments, as Jesus does in John 14:15, 23; cf. also 1 John 2:3-6); 
Matt 19:17; Lk 8:15; 11:28; John 8:51; 15:10; 1 John 3:24; 5:2, 3; Rev 3:8, 10. 

24 The promise in Rev 2:10 is much like Jesus' reassurance in Matt 10:28-33. Note 
the similarity between "fear not" (v 28) and the phrase in Rev 2:10. 

"Benedict, "The Use of Nikao" pp. 14-15. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 279 

This does not have the ring of truth. When John uses &5iK8co he 
always refers to inflicting direct, positive "injury" on some object 
(Rev 6:6, 7:2, 3; 9:4, 10, 19; 11:5). In the strained view above, the 
"injury" is not that of the death itself, directly, but in being prevented 
from receiving the crown of life, which is indirect. The problem with 
this is that wherever the second death elsewhere affects a person it 
affects him directly, fully, eternally. He is actually placed in it (20:6, 
14). Also, the second death in Revelation 20 is a destiny absolutely 
opposite to eternal life (note the "book of life"), that life which is the 
privilege of all the saved. It is not death set in contrast to life thought 
of as a special, added reward for only a part of the redeemed, which 
is the meaning that Benedict proposes for the "crown of life." 

Also, the genitive phrase linked with the crown in various 
passages is probably a genitive of apposition: "the crown which 
consists of [eternal] life," i.e., life in its final, consummative, fully- 
realized sense (James 1:12; Rev 2:10); "the crown which consists of 
[eternal] glory" (1 Pet 5:4); "the crown which consists of [ultimate] 
righteousness" (2 Tim 4:8). 26 

More persuasively, then, Rev 2:11 harmonizes with the concept 
that every saved person overcomes. 

3. Rev 2:17 

Christ promises hidden manna. The main views permit the 
manna to be a reward for all the saved. To Ladd it is a figure 
depicting admission to the Messianic feast, the Messiah's kingdom. 27 
Others see the manna as a symbol for Christ, the bread of life, getting 
their cue from John 6:50f., 53-58. 28 If so, Christ is "hidden" in that 
we do not now see him (2 Cor 5:16; 1 Pet 1:8), but shall see him when 
he comes for his saints (1 John 3:1, 2). Such explanations go well 
with the idea that every saved person will be an overcomer and 
receive such a reward that Christ guarantees to the overcomer. 

4. Rev 2:17 

Any view of the "white stone" yet proposed has some difficulty 
for those who do not take the view proposed here. We cannot be 
dogmatic about what Christ meant, but if the "hidden manna" is a 
reward for every saved person the "white stone" in the same verse 
probably also is. From the background of Greek and Roman customs 

26 D. E. Hiebert, The Epistle of James (Chicago: Moody, 1979), 98-99; Alexander 
Ross, The Epistles of James and John (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), 32. 

"George E. Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1972), 49. 

28 Stott, What Christ Thinks, 65. 



280 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

arise such possible meanings for the stone as vindication, acceptance, 
identification, and honor as a victor. Any such idea suits every 
redeemed person. 

Suppose, then, that eating the "hidden manna" is but another 
way of picturing what can also be represented as the joyous boon of 
feasting at the Messianic banquet (cf. Rev 19:9), experiencing the 
delights of the eternal kingdom. Just so, the "white stone" could 
represent a complementary idea — acceptance, identification with 
Christ, or honor in that kingdom (cf. Rom 2:7). 

Even if the background for the stone is in Israelite custom, we 
can have a meaning that relates to every saint. Manna can picture 
God satisfying His people's needs in contrast to foods associated with 
false gods that do not satisfy lastingly (Rev 2:14). One of the many 
possibilities for the point of reference for the white stone in Israelite 
history is plate stones on which God inscribed his moral will. This 
could be directly relevant in Revelation 2 to sins at Pergamum 
committed against God's moral standard (vv 14-23). As the over- 
comer received and honored the Word disclosing God's Person and 
will, Christ assures that he is to receive the ultimate disclosure of 
God's Person and will. His symbol for this is the "white stone." 29 

With either a Graeco-Roman or an Israelite background, then, 
the stone can portray a blessed reward possessed by all of the redeemed. 

5. Rev 2:26-27 

Christ will give the overcomer authority over the nations, to help 
rule them with a rod of iron. Quite naturally the rule relates to every 
saved person. 

In Rev 5:9, 10 all of the blood-bought of all nations are a 
kingdom and priests. They will reign on earth. In 20:4-6 all who 



Others think of the white stone as like the "Urim" fitted within the fold of the 
high priest's breastplate, in which were twelve stones (Exod 28: 1 7ff.). Each stone was 
inscribed with the name of a tribe of Israel, and represented that tribe as present before 
the Lord in the bond of the covenant. In this view the "Urim" may have been a "white 
stone" or diamond on which God's secret name was written. It would symbolize a 
position of priestly prerogative before the Lord. If so, the promise suits any saved 
person, for all are priests (1 Pet 2:5; Rev 5:10). Stott leans to this position (What Christ 
Thinks, pp. 65-67). Moses Stuart proposed still other high priestly background for the 
stone ("The White Stone of the Apocalypse," BSac 1 (1843) 469-76). The white stone is 
a precious stone comparable to the gold band gracing the high priest's mitre with the 
words "Holiness to the Lord" (Exod 28:36ff.). Every overcomer, a priest, will bear the 
name of Christ the Lord, corresponding to the OT "Jehovah," which none but the high 
priest knew how to utter (p. 473). Stuart says the new name is the Logos (p. 476). His 
idea is consonant with every believer being an overcomer, but is not without problems. 
Christ says that it is a white stone, which does not correspond convincingly with a gold 
band; Christ says nothing of a headdress, etc. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 281 

belong to the "first resurrection" — to that classification of resurrection 
— reign with Christ for a thousand years. 

All who have exercised the spiritual commitment of v 4 (loyalty 
to God's Word and to God rather than to the beast and his image) 
will no doubt share in the millennial reign. Other passages show that 
a general characteristic of the saved is that they keep the Word of 
God. This obedience is evidence that they truly love God. 30 And in 
the ultimate blessedness, all the saved reign eternally (22:5) as surely 
as they all enjoy other aspects described in 22:3-5. 

In view of this it is reasonable that all the saved rule with Christ. 
We should not restrict this reward only to an elite, more faithful 
group among the saved. 

To venture outside the Apocalypse for a moment, it is of interest 
to note that even in this life Paul expects everyone who has been 
justified to reign in life by Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17). He looks for 
faith's fruit with respect to sanctification to show up in every justified 
life (6:22f.; 7:4, 6). To him, the life of being led by the Spirit is God's 
norm for all (not some) of his authentic sons (8:14). 

Suffering with Christ is an experience common in varying degrees 
and forms to all the saved, all who will someday be glorified (Rom 
8:17; 2 Cor 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12). 

Returning to the Apocalypse, authority over the nations is in 
terms of an iron-like rule over them. The psalmist predicts such rule 
for God's anointed One (Ps 2:9), and John envisions this as realized 
in Jesus Christ (Rev 12:5; 19:15). The primary focus of the ruling with 
a rod of iron seems to be on the authority demonstrated in subjugat- 
ing the peoples. In comparison with Christ's strength, the nations are 
weak and fragile. He shatters them (cf. Exod 15:6b). 

This primary idea seems correct for two reasons. First, the 
illustration in Rev 2:27b portrays destruction. Similarly, Jeremiah 
shattered a vessel into bits to illustrate what the Lord by his authority 
would do in judging Jerusalem in 587/86 B.C. (Jer 19:11). Second, 
Rev 19:15 locates this phrase, ruling with a rod of iron, in a context 

30 The truly saved love God (Exod 20:6; Ps 91:14; 97:10; 145:20; Matt 19:16-26; 
Rom 8:28; 1 Cor 2:9; 16:22; 1 Pet 1:7, 8; 1 John 4:7, 8, 12, 15. 16, 20). Keeping God's 
Word manifests love for him (John 14:21, 23-24; 1 John 5:2). It is not surprising, then, 
that Jesus can speak of keeping the commandments in the same breath with entering 
into life (Matt 19:17). Apparently he means that faith, which receives God's gift, 
expresses itself in fidelity to his Word, just as Paul speaks of faith that works through 
the channel of love (Gal 5:6). So, one enters into life and he avoids death by a proper 
response to the Word (John 8:51). And keeping the Word is involved when one fulfills 
aspects of God's will, such as in 1 Tim 1:19; 5:22; James 1:27; Jude 21. 

31 lsbon T. Beckwith, The Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), 471: 
". . . its mention here is perhaps suggested by the former clause; the victor's share in the 
Messiah's conquest over his enemies may suggest the glory that is to follow." 



282 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

of authoritative judgment at the second advent, prior to the descrip- 
tion of Christ's millennial rule in chapter 20. 

The idea that the saved will exercise dominion with Christ over 
the nations emerges in Rev 19:14. Armies of heaven accompany 
Christ at his second advent. These, arrayed in white, are conceivably 
the believers dressed in white linen earlier (v 8), angels (15:6), or all of 
these. They share in the Lord's iron-like, devastating victory over the 
beast and his armies. The believers in Christ's armies are "the bride," 
that is, the saints, not just saints allegedly victorious as distinguished 
from spiritually barren saints. 

So, the reward which Christ pledges to the overcomer in Rev 
2:26, 27 he will apparently provide for all of the redeemed. 

6. Rev 2:28 

Christ will confer the morning star to overcomers. Many think 
this is a symbol of Christ, who will come shining with glory to 
inaugurate his kingdom (Matt 24:30; 25:31, 2 Thess 1:9). The star 
depicts the Messiah who has risen out of Jacob (Num 24:17). The fact 
that Christ styles himself "the bright morning star" in Rev 22:16 
enhances this meaning. Just as the morning star is the harbinger of 
the dawn and shows that the full light of the day will soon brighten 
the earth, Christ in his coming will usher in the day of abundant 
Messianic glory (2 Pet 1:19). He will give himself as the "morning 
star" to the person who keeps his works (Rev 2:26), an idea in 
principle essentially like John 14:21. There, when a person obeys 
Christ's word, Christ manifests himself to him. 

A similar view makes the star a symbol of believers' victorious 
glory in the future day. 31 The godly will shine as the stars (Dan 12:3); 
appear with Christ "in glory" (Col 3:4); be glorified with him (Rom 
8:30; 2 Thess 1:9, 10). Good angels, too, are called "morning stars" 
(Job 38:7), because they can manifest bright glory (cf. Rev 18:1). 
Believers are also to shine brightly, whether as the stars or the sun 
(Matt 13:43; cf. 4 Ezra 7:97). 32 

In either view above or in the two combined, all saints will share 
the reward which the morning star portrays. It is arbitrary to restrict 
this reward to certain of the saved, as if only they overcome, and 
deny it to others as though they do not overcome. 



Believers are to shine as stars not only in Dan 12:3 but in the Pseudepigrapha: 
1 Enoch 104:2; 4 Ezra 7:97, their faces are to shine as the sun and they are to be made 
like the light of the stars; v 125; cf. also 1 Enoch 62:15, 16, the righteous shall be 
arrayed in garments of glory and life; 2 Bar 50:1-4; 51:3, 10. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 283 

7. Rev 3:5 

Christ will clothe the overcomer in white garments. The Apoca- 
lypse describes all the saved as finally arrayed in white. The blessing 
is for all who are part of the "bride," not confined only to the more 
fruitful (19:8). The martyrs taken to heaven appear in white (6:11a). 
These have overcome, as shown by faithfulness to the Word and their 
testimony (v 9). In the perspective of the book, the only ones eligible 
for the overcomer's blessing from the Lord are those who have been 
true to him. The burden of proof is on the interpreter who imagines 
that some who are truly saved are not faithful, that they do not have 
some degree of godly victory in the overall trend of their lives since 
they were initially saved. 

In a passage about saved people during the tribulation (7:9ff.), it 
is said that they "washed their robes and made them white in the 
blood of the lamb." All are cleansed by the blood. And so, apparently, 
whether the saved during the tribulation suffer as martyrs or survive 
while maintaining spiritual integrity, all alike have washed their robes 
in the blood. 33 And the blessings they enjoy (vv 15-17) are of the 
nature that all the saints receive. They are in God's presence (cf. John 
17:24), serving him (cf. Rev 22:3), no longer suffering from hunger, 
thirst, etc. (cf. 21:4). 

The overcomer in 3:5 is one of those in v 4 "who have not soiled 
their garments." This pictures keeping their spiritual lives clean in a 
walk with the Lord (cf. James 1:27). It is similar to "the righteous acts 
of the saints" in 19:8. All true saints have these righteous acts 
(cf. 1 John 3:4-10), and fittingly God will commemorate this with a 
heavenly dress, whatever it finally means. 

The saints' ultimate worship in principle answers to the call to 
"Worship the Lord in holy attire [in the splendor of holiness]" 
(Ps 96:9). God constitutes all the saints priests before him (1 Pet 2:5, 
9; Rev 5:9, 10), so his principle is to array them consistently with his 
own decorum for priests: "Let thy priests be clothed with righteous- 
ness" (Ps 132:9a; cf. v 16; Isa 61:10). Two words in Psalm 132 
apparently are interchangeable — righteousness and salvation 34 — since 



"Rev 7:4-8 most naturally speaks of literal, saved Jews and 7:9ff. expands to the 
saved of all nations; 7:9ff. depicts blessings beyond this life that even saved Jews will 
receive. Indeed, 7:16-18 sounds like the spiritual boon God promised Israelites in Isa 
49:10, which in principle expands also to the saved of all nations. 

34 And so the reward in its general sense is the crown which consists of eternal life 
(James 1:12; Rev 2:10); which consists of eternal glory (1 Pet 5:4); which consists of 
righteousness in its ultimate sense (2 Tim 4:8). All of the saved will belong to a sphere 
that features these realities. 



284 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

the second part of both vv 9 and 16 is the same. But God who garbs 
the righteous will also clothe his enemies — with shame (v 18)! 

In Rev 3:5, then, the overcomer is any saved person. 

Another aspect in 3:5 is Christ's promise to the overcomer: "I 
will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." 
Benedict says that passages about Christ confessing or not confessing 
men contrast two categories among the saved. They are "promises of 
reward or loss of reward for discipleship"* 5 assuming a system in 
which really committed believers are disciples and other saved people 
are not. But the evidence actually supports a different distinction: 
Christ will confess all the saved but deny the unsaved. 

Evidence for relating the last part of 3:5 to all the truly saved is 
as follows. First, Luke 9:26 makes it clear that a person's salvation is 
very doubtful if he can be described as ashamed of Christ and his 
words. The biblical pattern says that the saved keep Christ's words or 
some wording to the same basic effect. 36 Second, in Luke 9:24, 25, 
salvation appears to be involved in Christ's words: ". . . whosoever 
shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." Only Christ 
finally can save, to be sure, but men save themselves in that they heed 
the invitation to salvation and then see that they go on with Christ 
(Acts 2:40; 1 Tim 4:16). Luke 9:25 probably refers to failure to gain 
salvation when it says, "For what is a man profited, if he gains the 
whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?" Third, the term "denied" 
in Luke 12:9 more naturally fits with the view that Christ will not 
regard such a person as saved: "but he who denies me before men 
shall be denied before the angels of God." Fourth, confessing Christ 
is definitely related to genuine faith and salvation in Rom 10:9, 10. 
Since this passage clearly casts confession of Christ in the context of 
relationship, the probability is strong that in the other texts as well 
the person who confesses Christ is saved and the person who denies 
him is not. The contrast is not between a spiritual Christian who 
confesses him and a carnal Christian who does not. Fifth, while the 
meaning of 2 Tim 2:12 is not in itself unequivocal, to deny Christ 
most probably refers to the unbelief that springs from an unsaved 
mind-set. Christ denying a person probably means that he rejects him 
at the future judgment. This is evidently the case, since v 1 1 is no 
doubt dealing with a person really saved as distinguished from one 
who is not. The saved person indeed has died with Christ and will live 
with him! Further, to endure (v 12) is a mark of the redeemed person. 
And it has already been pointed out that all of the saved will reign 
with Christ (Rev 22:5). 

"Benedict, "The Use of Nikao" 33-34. 
36 Cf. nn. 23. 30. 



rosscup: the overcomer of the apocalypse 285 

The evidence, then, supports the conviction that in Rev 3:5 the 
overcomer Christ confesses is any saved person. The man Christ will 
deny is not a saved man who is unfruitful; he is the unsaved man, 
even if a professing church member! 

Another relevant problem in Rev 3:5 is Christ's promise not to 
remove the overcomer from the "book of life." Those who believe 
that saved men may lose salvation (view 1 above) connect the idea of 
removal with this loss. 37 Others suppose God records all men in the 
"book," but removes those who fail to become saved. 38 A preferable 
view is that Christ records only the saved 39 and promises never to 
remove them. Reasons supporting his preservation of these follow. 

(1) He makes no direct statement that he will delete a name once 
it is in the book. That he implies the possibility is not certain enough 
to be the basis for a view. Even what seems to some to be implied can 
be explained from the standpoint of a contrast between a human, 
earthly, public register from which men remove names after physical 
death and God's book from which names are not scratched. Christ's 
point is that the insecurity that men know prevails in this world will 
not happen with regard to this spiritual book. An analogy is 2:10, 1 1. 
A Christian can face physical death, but assuredly will never suffer 
the second death. Christ pledges his security. In 3:12, one can go out 
of a present, earthly temple, but the overcomer will not go out of the 
spiritual, eternal temple of God. Christ pledges his security. 

Similarly, the OT has registers of names in this life (Ezek 13:9; 
Exod 32:32, 33; Isa 4:1, 2; Jer 22:30). These are lists on this earth 
among men (or Exodus 32: God's list of the physically living) which 
keep a person's name until he dies; then his name is scratched out as 
no longer pertinent. In Ps 9:5 God has blotted out names of the 
wicked in destroying them physically from this life. Ps 69:28 can be 
understood in different ways. It may refer to God's awareness of 
those physically alive; human records of the living (Dan 12:1?); a 

37 Cf. nn. 1, 2. 

38 Strauss, Book of Revelation, 120; Walvoord, Revelation, 82-83. 

"That only the saved are ever listed in the "Book of Life" is proved by various 
factors. (1) Some passages speak of being written in heaven (Luke 10:20; Heb 12:23), a 
unique privilege of the saved. (2) Other texts speak not of being written in heaven, but 
being in the book of life. These, too, convey the strong impression that only the saved 
are so recorded (Phil 4:3; Rev 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). No one unsaved is ever 
directly said to be in this book now, to have been removed, or to have once been in it 
but not so now. (3) Some references speak of unsaved as not written in the book. They 
do not hint that they were ever in it (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15); the unsaved are shown 
not to be listed here; it seems to be eisegesis to suggest that they were in it but later 
removed when they failed to receive Christ. The texts do not say or intimate this. In 
Rev 21:27, only those in the book may enter the New Jerusalem; it does not refer to 
those who remain in the book, as if they once were in it but did not continue. 



286 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

human list of the unrighteous who die and God's list of the godly 
(Dan 12:1?) from which he withholds the unrighteous; or God's book 
from which he blots out unsaved but retains the godly. 40 Only in the 
NT do references appear that unequivocally mean a "book" of God 
pertaining to eternal life. 

(2) The promise embraces every "overcomer," admitting of no 
exceptions. Every person who believes with true faith and has been 
born again is an overcomer (1 John 5:1, 4, 5). So, if every born again 
person is an overcomer, and no overcomer will be blotted out of the 
book, no born again person can be removed. 

(3) The phrase immediately linked with the book, "I will confess 
his name," is Christ's promise that he will be loyal to all the truly 
saved as in other NT teaching already discussed. 

(4) Johannine passages teach that God keeps securely all those 
truly saved (John 6:37-41, 54 with 56; 10:27-29, Uohn 5:18). 

(5) Rev 3:5 agrees with a scriptural pattern which immediately 
links a positive promise with a negative promise to teach a truth even 
more emphatically (John 5:24, 10:28, 29, etc.). The negative aspect 
does not drape a shroud of doubt over the saved man's security; it 
erects a further pillar of support against a further consideration. 

CONCLUSION 

1. All of the saved are overcomers according to biblical ter- 
minology and exegesis. 

2. Reward promised to the overcomer in Revelation 2-3 fits very 
well with the conclusion that all the saved will receive such reward. 
The distinction between two categories of the saved will not be that 
one receives the reward and another falls short of it. Rather, both 
receive it, yet each in that distinguishable degree, position, capacity, 
or role that befits his case as God sees it. Both enjoy in common the 
fully satisfying sphere of reward in general depicted by various terms, 
e.g., the kingdom, eternal life, glory, inheritance, etc. And both enjoy 
in common the blessing that such a promise as hidden manna or the 
white stone picture. Yet with that general blessedness that God 
bestows on all the saved, each has reward in a more particular sense 
in that degree, position, capacity or role of fellowship in holy service 
(Rev 22:3) that suits his case. 



This last opinion is not probable in view of clearer, more direct NT statements 
(cf. n. 39). 



BOOK REVIEWS 



Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? by David C. Needham. 
A Critical Concern Book. Portland: Multnomah, 1979. Pp. 293. Paper, $6.95. 

"The fundamental concept of this book is that you, as a born-again 
person, are — in your deepest self — in perfect agreement with the will of God" 
(p. 137). In maintaining this contention, Needham rightly objects to the old 
"two-nature" theories which have often used the term "nature" as though it 
were synonymous with "person." But, in my opinion, he is painted with his 
own brush. He comes nearer to making two persons of the believer than the 
"old" view ever did. He repeatedly refers to what man is in "his deepest self, 
his truest self," his "essential" being, his "innermost" being, his "deepest 
identity," his "deepest sense of personhood," his "true self," "the authentic 
you," "the person I now most deeply am," as never desiring to sin (p. 155)! 
All this is in contrast with one's "flesh," his "mind flesh," "the outer man," 
the "flesh level of personhood," and the "old flesh," from which our evil 
inclinations arise. But these latter are not really and truly me, he says. 

And further, Needham says, the "flesh self" and the "old self" must be 
carefully distinguished. The "old self" no longer exists. The pre-regeneration 
person no longer exists (p. 113)! One wonders, in this approach, who was 
saved? It wasn't me, because the old me does not exist and the present me did 
not exist. Jesus didn't really save the "me" that exists now! Is our union with 
Christ in his death presumed to mean that we are now different persons who 
did not exist before? (This is in spite of the fact that Christ is not a different 
person who did not exist before his resurrection — and neither are we because 
of our union with him.) For Needham, the new man (apparently a new 
metaphysical entity?) is in reality a member of a new species (pp. 47-48)! All 
these word games are played without "rules" defining what is meant by such 
basic concepts as "person," "nature," "regeneration," etc. (there is a brief and 
inadequate discussion of the word "nature" in an appendix). Since there is no 
bibliography one may be pardoned for wondering whether Needham has read 
the good discussions by Relton, Buswell, Showers, and others on these issues. 

Why does not the same logic which refuses to allow sin as a real aspect 
of me, also refuse to allow it as a real aspect of the fallen Adam? After all, it 
was an intruder in his nature, even more than in mine! In addition to the 
problem of placing my sin somewhere outside my "truest self," there are 
numerous other problems in this book. 

For example, Needham argues that the signs and gifts mentioned in the 
NT may also be seen today (pp. 199-201). This, of course, makes nonsense of 
the biblical reference to the "signs (proofs) of apostleship" (2 Cor 12:12). If 
all believers are supposed to do these things, how could they be signs of 
apostleship? 



288 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

He also asserts that both Peter and Paul say that "the only thing" you 
will leave behind when you go to heaven is your mortality (emphasis added). 
But it may be bluntly affirmed that they do not say this. If all we leave behind 
is the mortality of body ("flesh"), and if my sin does not lie within the real 
intrinsic me, it is difficult to avoid a "matter is evil" dualism. Needham says 
that he avoids this, but his argument is neither clear nor persuasive. 

A major part of Needham's argument is that either I myself, or some 
aspect of me, ceased to be active at my regeneration. Since I still exist, just 
who or what this was is never made clear. It certainly was not my body, and I 
presume it was not my soul/ spirit — so I don't know what it was! His 
argument on this point (death is cessation) forces him to redefine death as a 
"cessation of function of whatever dies," and spiritual death as involving "a 
total cessation of the one entity that is dead — one's life in relation to God" 
(p. 255). Thus the entity that goes out of existence is not really an entity, like 
a person's body, or spirit, but a relationship. In addition to the obvious 
logical problems with the term "spiritual death," this view does not tell us 
what entity went out of existence at our regeneration. But Needham likens 
our fear of our old man, who has ceased to exist, to our fear of a dead snake 
which has ceased to exist (p. 255)! 

Needham accepts the non-traditional interpretation of 1 John 1:6-10 as 
set forth by Peter Gillquist in Love Is Now (p. 263). It is my opinion that 
whenever these concepts ("fellowship" equals salvation and "confession" is 
for salvation) are adopted they are generally associated with unorthodox or 
at least divergent views of progressive sanctification (and in Needham's case, 
of prospective sanctification). 

Another problem is his denial that OT saints were regenerated (and his 
consequent misunderstanding of the new covenant promises). The Grace 
Theological Seminary Th.D. dissertation by Dr. John Davis has adequately 
dealt with this doctrine and I will not further respond to it. 

Of course a sinner is radically changed at regeneration! Of course his 
basic character is affected. Of course it is proper to speak of a believer as 
having only one nature if the term is used to mean a "complex of attributes" 
which characterize an individual, and if this "complex" includes all the 
characteristics, good and bad, which describe that individual. But this does 
not disallow the use of the term as an abstraction to label various complexes 
of attributes such as that complex due to my Adamic inheritance. Even 
Needham's mentor, Martin Lloyd-Jones, so uses the term (see p. 251). (One 
may speak of the nature of Jesus as being the God-man [including all his 
characteristics], yet also speak of his divine nature and of his human nature.) 
Of course the word "sin" in the singular should not be understood as meaning 
"sin nature" (pp. 251-52), but having said all this, "one's flesh" is still an 
aspect of himself (his personhood). In attempting to avoid the concept of two 
natures (or persons) Needham has produced a kind of dualism in which there 
is some foreign (non-me) entity within me which draws me toward sin. But 
we are supposed to take comfort in the fact that the real me (my "truest self") 
doesn't desire to sin! And what is this non-personal depravity in me? I had 
always thought that neither rocks, trees, bodies, nor any other non-personal 
entities could be depraved and that only persons can be guilty of sin. 



BOOK REVIEWS 289 

In reading this book one receives the impression that if he does not share 
Needham's approach he cannot have "true meaning" (a concept he repeatedly 
emphasizes) or experience real joy in his Christian life — or conversely that a 
failure to accept his view explains all such spiritual failure! To the contrary, I 
am sure that many Christians will be happy to report that joy, meaning, and 
significance are not dependent on the acceptance of Needham's views. 

Needham's primary concern seems to be with improving a believer's self- 
image. He repeatedly argues to the effect that the traditional view he is 
opposing does not see "the relationship between sin and the fundamental 
issue of meaning which grows out of an awareness of identity" (p. 254) — 
whatever that may mean! 

It is impossible to interact with the scores of statements in this book with 
which I must disagree. That would take a book longer than Needham's! I 
must simply say that I am unable to recommend the book. The book will 
confuse more than help. It is my opinion that it will lead both true believers 
and professing believers to depreciate or deny the real problems of sin in their 
lives. The exegesis it incorporates too often merely 'exegetes' words and 
phrases (such as "It is no longer I that do it") apart from their logical and 
theological connections in both the immediate and the biblical contexts. This 
simply means that he fails to recognize figurative expressions and analogies 
for what they are, figurative expressions and analogies. 

Charles R. Smith 



Testaments of Love: A Study of Love in the Bible, by Leon Morris. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 298. $12.95. 

As might have been expected, this volume from the pen of Leon Morris 
is a deep reservoir of biblical data on love. This treatise is long overdue for at 
least two reasons, because (1) "there are so few studies of what the Bible 
means when it uses the term" (p. vii), and because (2) ofttimes "our idea of 
love is indistinguishable from that of the world around us" (p. 2). The former 
reason is corroborated by a drought of thematic studies which should be 
coming from OT and NT scholars (cf. pp. 4-7), while the latter reason is an 
indisputable fact of contemporary history. 

Morris launches out into his ambitious project with a great deal of 
objectivity. He avoids careless proof-texting throughout by providing appro- 
priate textual and hermeneutical notes. A truly biblical theology undergirds 
all syntheses. In addition, the volume is saturated with interaction with 
literature on the topic; however, the author does not always note the 
presuppositional divergencies of the authors of materials he cites. Conse- 
quently, he assumes a high level of discernment on the part of his conservative 
readership. 

"Loved with Everlasting Love" (cf. Jer 31:3) is both the title and theme 
of chapter one. In this chapter the SHN word-complex as used of God is 
summarized. Morris' primary thesis is that "the constancy of his [i.e., God's] 
love depends on what he is rather than on what they [i.e., his people] are" 
(p. 12). Besides studies in Jeremiah, he appeals to the other prophets. 



290 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

especially Hosea (cf. pp. 14-20). It is somewhat surprising not to find an 
extensive treatment of Deuteronomy 7 in this foundational chapter (he does 
have a brief treatment of it later; cf. pp. 89-90). Also, he only briefly refers to 
the important connection of covenant and love (cf. p. 28). Much more 
development is needed at this juncture. 

There is also a reminder that the "biblical writers use other words that 
bring out other facets of love, and there are many passages that do not use 
any of the words for love but that are nevertheless important, because they 
describe occurrences that indicate God's love" (p. 33). One of the most 
important sub-theses which Morris defends in this first chapter is "that there 
is a stern side to real love" (p. 25). 

The same semantic group is examined from the human perspective in 
chapter 2 ("Man's Love"). At the outset Morris exposes a prevalent but 
wrong generalization concerning 2HX: "That the verb is used twenty-seven 
times to indicate men's love for God and twenty-three times to indicate God's 
love for men shows that it is incorrect to say that the root is 'rarely' used of 
the love of an inferior for a superior" (p. 36, n. 3). The command to love is 
introduced in this chapter as an extremely important biblical distinctive 
(cf. p. 40). Another pertinent conclusion flowing from an examination of the 
scriptural data is that "love and obedience go together" (p. 42): 

Modern men usually regard fear and love as opposites, and these days there is a 
marked reluctance to see obedience to God's commands as a response of 
love. . . . But the men of the Old Testament did not see things this way. . . . Joy 
and . . . love are the companions of a proper fear of God (pp. 58-59). 

Chapter three brings "ton into the picture ("Love and Loyalty"). After 
pointing out the insurmountable difficulties related to translating this preg- 
nant term (cf. p. 65), Morris offers an adequate survey of its occurrences and 
significance. He concludes that "ton denotes "both love and loyalty" (p. 70). 
As such, "in the Old Testament as a whole, hesedh is characteristic of God 
rather than of men. In men it is the ideal; in God it is the actual" (p. 81). 

Chapter four, "Compassion and Delight," deals with selected miscel- 
laneous Hebrew roots which are conceptually parallel to 3HN and "ton. The 
chapter provides a natural summary for the OT data: 

It is clear, then, that love is one of the fundamental ideas of the Old 
Testament. It is conveyed by a variety of words, each of which has its own 
contribution to make to our understanding of the whole. Together they show 
that love has many facets — particularly God's love. Two things about God's 
love are repeatedly emphasized: it is constant, and it is exercised despite the fact 
that the people God loves are so unworthy (pp. 99-100). 

"Love in the Septuagint" is the topic of chapter five. By means of usage 
surveys of &YaTtti(o and (pi^ew in the LXX Morris suggests that a trend is 
discernible: "This examination shows that agapad is much more significant 
for an understanding of love in the Old Testament than is phileo. This is true 
first of all because the term occurs so much more often, and secondly because 
it is found in contexts that better bring out the characteristic idea" (p. 1 1 1). 
However, he is careful not to suggest, as some have done, that there is a 



BOOK REVIEWS 291 

significant semantic difference between these two Greek roots in the LXX 
(cf. pp. 111-12). 

Prior to an examination of the NT data, the author presents in chapter 
six a very general but informative summary of the basic words for love in 
Greek literature (e.g. aTopyn,, (piAia, eTuOuuia, epo<;, etc.; cf. pp. 114-23). 
Then the characteristic NT substantive (dydTm,) is introduced into the discus- 
sion. The impact of this phenomenon is best brought out in the author's 
comparison of dr/dmr) with epog: 

Perhaps as good a way as any of grasping the new idea of love the 
Christians had is to contrast it with the idea conveyed by eros. . . . Eros has two 
principal characteristics: it is a love of the worthy and it is a love that desires to 
possess. Agape is in contrast at both points. ... On the contrary, it is a love 
given quite irrespective of merit, and it is a love that seeks to give (p. 128). 

"It is the cross that brought a new dimension to religion, that gives us a 
new understanding of love" (p. 129). This is not only the burden of chapter 
seven ("The God of Love and the Love of God"), but it is also the general 
(and valid) foundation of the remainder of the volume. Morris weaves 
together the evidence for this thesis from such key passages as 1 John 4:10, 
John 3:16, Rom 5:5-8, Eph 2:4ff., etc. (cf. also p. 135, n. 19) and concludes 
that "this is a formidable list, one that shows that the thought of God's love 
for those without merit is a dominant theme in the New Testament" (p. 129). 
Consequently, "the consistent teaching of the New Testament is that the love 
of God in Christ is prior to any love in man. ... As the New Testament views 
it, the origin of love is always in God" (p. 148). Throughout this important 
discussion it is demonstrated that the love of God "springs from his own 
nature" (p. 164). This particular chapter is theologically preeminent. 

The argument of chapter eight is not always convincing; however, its 
general thesis is acceptable: "The New Testament does not say in specific 
terms that God's love 'creates' love, but this is surely its meaning" (p. 169). 
Regarding this "answering love that spills over into love for one's fellowmen" 
(ibid.), one must not always assume a general application as Morris has done 
(cf. this chapter and "Love in First John," pp. 218ff.). It seems that the 
author has been influenced a little too much by the old theological rhetoric of 
'love' for the 'brotherhood of man' (cf. e.g., the citations in his footnotes 
throughout these sections). On the other hand, the chapter contains excellent 
discussion of the connection of love and obedience along with a pertinent 
reference to Christ as our example in love (pp. 185ff.). 

The best portion of chapter nine on "Love for Other People" is "Self- 
Love" (pp. 198-203). Therein Morris exposes a contemporary spiritual 
malady which is having devastating consequences today. He points out that 
"self-love is not commanded (or commended) in any of the places where it is 
mentioned. It is simply regarded as one of the facts of life" (p. 199). Self-love 
is the antithesis of dyti7ir|: "How can one give oneself to oneself . . . and not 
be selfish and self-centered?" (pp. 202-3). 

"Love, Just Love" (chapter ten) deals with the NT occurrences of 
&Ydjrr|/&Ya7rticD without specified objects. It is noted that "many of the 
absolute references to love seem to show that love is a way of life, the only 



292 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

way for Christians" (p. 232). Among several profitable discussions is a very 
good exegetical presentation of 1 Corinthians 13 (pp. 239-59). 

Chapter eleven, "The Love of Friendship," synthesizes the NT data relating 
to the cpiXew complex. From this data the author draws one major conclu- 
sion: "The striking use of agapad for God's love for the unworthy is simply 
not found when we turn to phileo; (p. 263). However, "although they [i.e., 
the (piXico words] do not establish the spontaneous, outgoing character of 
love as the Christian knows it, they fit in with that conception and help us see 
further aspects of it" (p. 266). It is also noteworthy that cptXeco compounds 
are sometimes used in warnings "about loves that should form no part of the 
life of God's servant" (p. 270). 

Morris (pp. 271-79) recapitulates his major findings in his conclusion 
and certainly vindicates the motives which prompted him to write this biblical 
survey of love. A valuable set of indexes closes out the pages of this volume. 
Apart from some comparatively minor content grievances, there are only 
two negative observations worthy of mention. The first relates to the organiza- 
tion of the book. Although the difficulty of trying to harmonize a biblical and 
systematic approach to such a vast topic as biblical love is acknowledged, 
many of the author's subheadings within chapters needed revision. At times 
the progression of the argument was not as clear as it could have been. This 
also led to some needless repetitions (and yet some of these were beneficial). 
A second criticism should probably be directed to the publisher. Due to the 
nature of this volume Hebrew and Greek typeset rather than transliterations 
would have been in order. However, these factors should not discourage the 
truly exegetical theologian from making Testaments of Love a "must" 
acquisition. 

George J. Zemek, Jr. 

The Development of Doctrine in the Church, by Peter Toon. Grand Rapids: 
Eerdmans, 1979. Pp. 127. $4.95. Paper. 

Peter Toon of Oak Hill College, London has written an important 
book, and it will undoubtedly exert considerable influence among evangelical 
students of the history of theology in years to come. 

It is possible to study the development of doctrine in the Church without 
even raising the questions of "why?" and "how?" It is possible to read 
everything from the Fathers to Barth without even considering a theory of 
the development of doctrine. It is also possible to set to sea in a ship that 
does not have a rudder. 

Toon offers a rudder on this vast sea in his summary of the various 
theories of important scholars of the past century and a half who have 
concerned themselves with the development of doctrine and offers his own 
description of what that theory ought to be. 

He addresses himself to "fellow evangelicals," and in seven chapters 
details the work of John Henry Newman, James Bowling Mozley, William 
Cunningham, William Archer Butler, Robert Rainy, Charles Hodge, Adolf 
von Harnack, James Orr, Benjamin B. Warfield, and the more recent views 
of contemporary or lately deceased Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars 
of the history of theology. 



BOOK REVIEWS 293 

John Henry Newman professed to have an "evangelical conversion" in 
1816. In 1890 he died as a Cardinal of the Roman Church. In between he had 
been an Anglican priest, a tutor at Oxford, and a leader of the "Tractarian 
Movement." But it is for his views of the development of doctrine that he is 
remembered here — and it was these views that eventually catapulted him into 
the priesthood of the Roman Church. 

Newman struggled with the relationship of doctrine in Scripture to the 
development of that doctrine in the tradition of the Church. Early in his life 
he believed that the Roman Church had corrupted doctrine by adding to the 
system of theology produced between Nicea and Chalcedon, but eventually 
he came to believe that it was only the Roman Church which was the true 
successor of the apostolic church. He argued that if Athanasius or Ambrose 
were to "come suddenly to life, it cannot be doubted what communion they 
would mistake for their own" (p. 8). Regardless of the changes in the Roman 
Church since the Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries, Newman came to 
believe that they would be most at home, not in the Protestant communions 
of his own day, but in the ancient church of Rome. 

Newman contended that the idea behind various doctrines was given in 
seminal form to the Early Church, and that through the ages these ideas were 
developed by the Church into present beliefs. Thus, while it is true that the 
Early Church did not maintain the doctrine of Mary that it eventually 
accepted (especially in the West), the idea was originally there, and that it was 
more or less legitimately developed. "Thus, Newman was able to see the same 
doctrines (in their most attractive form), which the Reformers and many of 
Newman's former Anglican colleagues had regarded as corruptions, as devel- 
opments of the original idea of Christianity" (p. 13). Penance was developed 
from baptism, and the cult of Mary from the theotokos doctrine. 

Newman's work was rebuffed by James Bowling Mozley, who found in 
such things as the Nicene Creed explanatory development, but not the 
development of accretion found in the Roman Church. About the same time, 
William Cunningham of the Church of Scotland pointed out that Newman's 
work was not even representative of the traditional position of Rome — that 
far from being a development of the Apostolic Church, the doctrines of 
Roman Catholicism were actually found in the apostolic era. He rejected the 
idea that God was controlling and guaranteeing the development of doctrine 
outside the Canon and maintained that there is development of doctrine 
legitimately only within inspired Revelation. While it is true that there was 
"early subjective growth in understanding such doctrines as the Holy Trinity 
and Christology" (p. 31) by the Church (as in the Nicene Creed), there was a 
parallel growth of corruption in doctrine, organization, and worship. 

William Archer Butler came at the problem from another perspective. 
He was raised as a Roman Catholic, but later became an Anglican. He 
proposed a number of objections to Newman's methodology, among which 
was his contention that Newman's theory "confuses development with the 
work of systematizing and applying doctrine ..." (p. 34). 

Toon next turns to the contribution of Robert Rainy, who was associated 
with the Free Church of Scotland. Rainy asked the questions that have 
always been asked by theologians of the Church: "What are the conditions 
under which, and the limits within which the human mind may be warranted 



294 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

in laying down doctrines? And how far can we reasonably think that the 
Bible was designed to furnish us with materials to be used in this way — to be 
fused and reproduced in these definite and invariable forms?" (p. 39). Rainy 
believed that doctrine was "a determination of what Christians believe to be 
true on the authority of the revelation they have patiently and prayerfully 
studied" (p. 41). Since the formulation of doctrine is thus a human enterprise, 
it is always open to improvement and refinement. This was as true for the 
generation immediately following the apostles as it is for any generation. He 
believed that creeds were useful, but that they must always be held subject to 
correction. 

Toon then takes up the work of Adolf von Harnack, whose monumental 
History of Dogma is still very influential in the field. Harnack concentrated 
on the creedal formulations of the third and fourth centuries and based much 
of his work on his theory of the Hellenization of Christianity through the in- 
fluences at work in those early centuries. Harnack "regarded the actual history 
of dogma as pathological rather than a normal or healthy process . . ." (p. 64). 

On the other hand, James Orr, a Scottish Presbyterian, found real 
progress in theology in the course of the centuries. He propounded the theory 
that the development of doctrine proceeded in an orderly and logical way 
from the doctrine of God through man, Christ, the Atonement, the applica- 
tion of redemption, and eschatology. But Toon rightly points out that his 
system is artificial and can hardly be substantiated from the actual history of 
the Church. 

The views of Benjamin B. Warfield are discussed next. Warfield saw 
theology as the inductive study of written Revelation, and he viewed its work 
as progressive and never finally accomplished. One can never stop doing 
theology unless he is arrogant enough to claim that he has perfectly appre- 
hended all the truths of Scripture and their relations with each other. 

In his fifth chapter Toon discusses some more modern responses among 
Protestants. He points out the recent discussions about the varieties of 
emphasis on various doctrines among the different writers of the New 
Testament. He shows how the Westminster Confession speaks to the issues of 
its day and raises questions about some recently-produced creeds. Out of 
recent Protestant (both liberal and conservative) theology Toon finds five 
important lessons for evangelicals (pp. 86-87): 

1. Evangelicals should recognize that the unity of the New Testament (and 
of the whole Bible) is a unity in plurality, and that the problems involved in 
interpreting the Bible to create doctrine for today are real and not imaginary. 

2. Evangelicals should accept the humanity, relative to historical and 
cultural conditioning, of both the Catholic creeds and, even more so, of the 
Confessions of Faith of Protestantism. To recognize the humanity of doctrinal 
statements is not necessarily to deny that they can be or are true in what they 
affirm or deny. 

3. Evangelicals should acknowledge that all theories of homogeneous prog- 
ress or development of doctrine are inadequate in the light of historical 
knowledge as it exists today. 

4. Evangelicals should reflect on the fact that though they all profess a 
strong commitment to the inspiration and authority of the Bible, they still 
represent a wide spectrum of doctrinal interpretations — e.g., baptism. 



BOOK REVIEWS 295 

5. Evangelicals need to realize that since the theological questions being 
asked today are not normally the same as those asked in the sixteenth or 
seventeenth centuries, there is often the need, and at some times more obviously 
than others, for contemporary confessions of faith. 

Toon follows this chapter with one on recent Roman Catholic views of 
the development of doctrine. He discusses the work of Karl Rahner in his 
editing of Sacramentum Mundi and his Theological Investigations, now up to 
fourteen volumes in English. Rahner finds that all statements of doctrine are 
statements of the experience of the Church with God, and such statements 
are in the end always inadequate. Another Roman Catholic and Dutch 
theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, "holds that whenever there is a faithful 
external presentation of the content of the implicit faith of the whole Church, 
then that presentation cannot be wrong" (p. 97). Thus, "true development of 
dogma is only possible in the whole Church" (p. 98). An American Roman 
Catholic, Gabriel Moran, finds that "God revealed in Jesus Christ is a 
mystery not because there is nothing more to say of him, but because there is 
always more to say" (p. 100). 

In the final chapter of the book Toon offers "A Contemporary Evan- 
gelical View." He presupposes that "for Christians the only authoritative 
basis for faith and doctrine is the revelation of God of which the books of the 
Bible are the written, unique record" (p. 105). He finds helpful the distinction 
of Rainy "between divine truth or teaching as embodied in Scripture, and 
doctrine as formulated by believers" (p. 106). For Toon "development of 
doctrine involves the Church in careful exegesis of the texts and then the 
choice of the best available concepts and words within a specific cultural 
situation as the means of conveying God's message for that time and place" 
(p. 115). God's Revelation in Scripture is the paradigm; doctrinal formula- 
tions are successive elaborations of that paradigm in different historical and 
cultural contexts. Toon gives several criteria for testing the validity of these 
elaborations. He calls for modern statements of doctrine which are consistent 
with apostolic teaching and which speak in the language of modern cultures 
to their people. 

One may not always agree with Toon or his assessments of others, but 
the exercise of reading his book is a good one. He summarizes vast amounts 
of literature in comprehensible form, and if the book accomplishes nothing 
else, it makes the reader aware of the Church's illegitimate tendency to 
canonize statements of doctrine intractably — whether the Creed of Nicea, the 
Westminster Confession, or the modern doctrinal statements of individual 
churches, church denominations, fellowships, and schools. Such doctrinal 
statements always must be way-stations only; they always must be open to 
change and refinement. It is Scripture that cannot be changed — not the 
human systemization of it. 

Thus, Toon's work forces one to ask questions that evangelicals need to 
ask with considerably more frequency: From where did the system of 
doctrine that I believe come? Is it an entirely accurate formulation of what 
Scripture teaches? Where it is not, what am I going to do about it? 

Weston W. Fields 
Grace College 



296 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

The Search for Salvation, by David F. Wells. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 
1978. Pp. 176. $3.95. Paper. 

The Search for Salvation is the second volume in InterVarsity Press's 
Issues in Contemporary Theology series. David Wells has given us an 
outstanding, readable survey of the differing theological approaches to the 
subject of salvation. The six positions surveyed are: Conservative (Evan- 
gelical), Neo-orthodoxy, Existentialism, Secular theology, Liberation the- 
ology, and Roman Catholic theology. The common struggle of each position 
is its attempt to define salvation for the present secular age. Unfortunately, 
the limited scope of the book prohibits a discussion of the theme of salvation 
in popular music, current literature, or recent films. Recognizing that these 
arenas represent the meaning of life and values for modern man as the 
professional theologian did in earlier centuries, it would have been quite 
valuable for these areas to have been developed. 

Wells accurately pinpoints the twin presuppositions of Conservative 
theology as: (1) an inspired Bible and (2) the unity of the testaments. A brief 
synopsis is offered of the cross-work of Christ, salvation past, present, and 
future. He adequately clarifies the biblical faith and its distinction from 
recent trends. 

The reader will certainly profit from Wells' correct distinction between 
Neo-orthodoxy and Existential Theology. In the first group, he places Barth 
and Brunner while assigning Tillich and Bultmann to the latter. The emphases 
of Neo-orthodoxy are God's grace, the Christological focus, and the objective 
triumph of the cross. Existential theology is concerned with the subjective 
emphases of existence and meaning. Often, these four theologians are lumped 
together into one group, but their approach to the matter of salvation, as in 
other areas of theology, is not to be confused. Barth and Brunner are much 
closer to the orthodox faith than either Bultmann or Tillich. Neo-orthodox 
theologians generally place the salvation history of the Christ-event within 
Historie while the Existentialists see this event as only Geschichte. 

The chapter on Secular theology entitled "God in a Godless World" 
summarizes the form of theology that was so prevalent in the 60s. Harvey 
Cox, John A. T. Robinson, Paul van Buren, and Thomas Altizer, to name a 
few representatives of this group, popularized the "God is Dead" movement. 
Characteristics of this theology are the dismissal of the supernatural, the 
redefinition of Christ, and the reinterpretation of salvation in purely secular 
concepts. 

Liberation theologies, the theology of hope, and so-called Christian 
Marxism are ably presented in the chapter concerning "Divine Politics." The 
final discussion concerns the recent developments in Roman Catholic The- 
ology. Especially helpful is Wells' evaluation of Rahner and Kiing. Evan- 
gelicals must pay close attention to the renewal prevalent among these men 
and their followers as they develop post-Vatican II theology. Our task is to 
determine the meaning of Kung's statements regarding justification by faith 
alone. Wells' conclusions are that "It is difficult to see how Rahner and Kiing 
can validly argue that the reformer's views on these questions are essentially 



BOOK REVIEWS 297 

the same as those of contemporary Catholicism when its nature-grace correla- 
tion is, but for some minor refinements, precisely what Luther and the other 
reformers rejected in the Catholicism of their day" (p. 155). 

The book is an excellent summary of recent trends in the area of 
soteriology. It is well written and will provide a fine introduction to the 
various systems, especially for the beginning student. Without question, it 
will find a home in college and seminary classrooms as collateral reading. Its 
non-technical style also makes it very conducive for advanced study groups in 
the local church. The true strength of the book is the author's adept ability to 
evaluate carefully the strengths and the weaknesses of each position without 
either blind praise or reactionary criticism. The final conclusion, in which 
Wells wrestles with the different presuppositions of the dogmatic (conser- 
vative) and apologetic (existential, secular liberation) theologies, is well worth 
the purchase of the book. It is his hope that the groups might learn from each 
other in both the areas of content and methodology in order that the biblical 
truth may be presented to our world. This is indeed the task of the theologian 
of every generation. It goes without saying that I heartily recommend this 
book and look forward with anticipation to the remaining volumes of the 
series. 

David S. Dockery 
Brooklyn, NY 

Christology in the Making, by James D. G. Dunn. Philadelphia: West- 
minster, 1980. Pp. 443. $24.50. Paper. 

James Dunn, reader in New Testament Studies at the University of 
Nottingham, has given us another important contribution to the field of New 
Testament Studies. Those who have followed Dunn's career will not be 
surprised by the quality of scholarship in this newest work. In it, Dunn 
investigates the beginnings of one of Christianity's most central beliefs, the 
doctrine of the incarnation. 

The book appears at a time when Christology is at the forefront of 
theological dialogue in British scholarship. In the past three years, since the 
works edited by Hick (The Myth of God Incarnate) and Green (The Truth of 
God Incarnate), much attention has been given to the subject. However, these 
works have not approached the subject with the thoroughness of Dunn. The 
unique contribution of Dunn's work is his methodology. It is not a systematic 
theological study, but a work of biblical theology. Dunn cites material from 
both testaments, the apocrypha, and other Near Eastern literature in his 
inquiry. The massive research is almost overwhelming. There are 84 pages of 
notes alone and a vast bibliography of 49 pages in addition to a very 
comprehensive index. The book is indeed a very carefully formulated analysis 
of the data, especially the exegesis of the New Testament materials in their 
contexts. 

Those who are familiar with Dunn's Unity and Diversity in the New 
Testament will not be surprised at the lack of unity that Dunn sees in the 



298 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

literature. There is, according to Dunn, a great diversity in the way the New 
Testament authors (or redactors) approached the subject of the incarnation. 
Dunn concludes that only the Johannine literature presents a pre-existent 
Christ or a developed doctrine of the incarnation. Dunn believes that pre- 
existence was a late development in the first century and grew out of the 
Johannine community. He says, "In other words, it is well nigh impossible to 
escape the conclusion that the pre-existence element in the Johannine Son of 
Man sayings is distinctly Johannine redaction or development of the Chris- 
tian Son of Man tradition" (p. 90). 

The term incarnation for Dunn means that Jesus revealed not just the 
Son of God, but that he actually revealed God. This is a statement consistent 
with classicalorthodoxy. But Dunn's method of arriving at such a conclusion 
is unique to himself. He has attempted to strip himself of the Christological 
developments of the first five centuries which so greatly influence our reading 
of the NT. We are so accustomed to reading the Christological contexts of 
Scripture from a post-Chalcedon standpoint that to read the texts from the 
standpoint of the developing first century is very difficult to say the least. 
Dunn has attempted such a task and concluded that there is a vast diversity 
of Christological formulation. For those who may feel uncomfortable with 
such a great amount of diversity, he says, "Christology should not be 
narrowly confined to one particular assessment of Christ, nor should it insist 
on squeezing all the different NT conceptualizations into one particular 
'shape,' but it should recognize that from the first, the significance of Christ 
could only be apprehended by a diversity of formulations which though not 
always strictly compatible with each other were not regarded as rendering 
each other invalid. ... If the NT does serve as a norm, the truth of Christ will 
be found in the individual emphasis of the different NT formulations as much 
as in that which unites them" (p. 267). 

This obviously helps us to see that it is difficult for one writer to paint 
the full picture of the infinite Christ. The Christ that we worship must be 
explained in diverse ways. Yet, I believe that there are possible texts in 
Romans, Philippians, and Hebrews that teach pre-existence. Dunn's discus- 
sions cover so much territory that the OT student will profit greatly from 
Dunn's OT exegesis, especially his discussion of the Son of Man in Daniel; 
the synoptic student will certainly appreciate the lengthy discussions of the 
Son of Man and the Son of God; and the Pauline specialist will definitely 
learn from the work regarding the Adamic and Wisdom Christologies. 

Dunn sees the resurrection as the primary element in the Christology of 
the other NT writers, but he sees the incarnation and not the resurrection as 
the central theme of the Johannine corpus. Raymond Brown, who has 
contributed so much to Johannine scholarship over the past 25 years, would 
certainly agree with Dunn's conclusions. However, I see an emphasis upon 
the resurrection in the Johannine writings as well. 

The book will be very instrumental in the areas of Christological studies 
and NT Biblical Theology for years to come. In my opinion, it surpasses 
some of the recent attempts on the subject such as Pannenberg's and 
Cullmann's. Yet, I was left uneasy with many of Dunn's conclusions. While I 
believe that through using the tools of historical criticism, Dunn has been 



BOOK REVIEWS 299 

able to see the humanity of Christ and its development within the NT 
writings, I also believe that he has missed some of the meaning of the several 
Pauline passages, because he has not only borrowed the methodology of 
historical criticism (which in itself may be valid), but has also adopted many 
of the non-essential presuppositions that tend to accompany it. We agree 
with Bultmann at one place, that a person approaches the text with certain 
presuppositions ( Ververstandnis). Dunn, however, seems to have abandoned 
certain presuppositions which are important to Evangelicalism, like the unity 
of the Scripture. 

In the past decade, James Dunn has been at the forefront of Evangelical 
scholarship, but this work, along with Unity and Diversity . . . , indicate that 
Dunn is moving away from Evangelical circles. I hope that my assessment is 
wrong, for he has very much to offer us. This view in no way is meant to 
advocate a non-creative, stagnant Evangelicalism; nonetheless, an abandon- 
ment of such basics of the faith as the unity of the text is very dangerous. I 
still recommend this work very highly, although I suggest that the reader read 
cautiously and critically. 

David S. Dockery 
Brooklyn, NY 



An Index to the Revised Bauer- Arndt- Gingrich Greek Lexicon, second 
edition, by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker. Edited by John R. 
Alsop. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 525. $10.95. Paper. 

With the advent of the Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich Lexicon (BAG) in 1957, a 
new milestone had been reached in NT lexicography. BAG was the first 
comprehensive lexicon of the NT in English dress in over seventy years — the 
only comprehensive work since the revolution over the understanding of the 
language was effected by Deissmann. Eleven years after BAG was published, 
Alsop's Index was introduced. The format of the Index followed the sequence 
of the chapters and verses of the NT books. Listed under each verse were the 
Greek words (written in a computer transliterated Greek which took some 
getting used to) for which BAG cited that verse. For each Greek word, the 
page reference to BAG (and its particular quadrant) and the specific section 
and subsection were listed. The purpose of the Index was to help the 
translator/ exegete save time by locating precisely where BAG dealt with the 
word in question as used in that verse. This not only helped him to translate 
more rapidly; it also helped the translator/ exegete ascertain whether or not 
his text was cited by BAG and, if it was, to see what BAG stated as to the 
precise meaning of the word in that passage. The value of the Index, then, 
was intrinsically tied to the value of BAG's interpretations/ definitions of 
words in their various contexts. 

Although not infallible, BAG has been recognized as the lexical authority 
of the NT for the English-speaking community. Unfortunately, it was pub- 
lished one year before Bauer's fifth German edition. Most NT scholars have 
conceded that the English edition, based on Bauer's fourth German edition, 
held a deutero-canonical status. But with the advent of the revised BAG, 



300 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

edited by Gingrich and Danker (thus, BAGD) in 1979, the English edition 
has been granted full canonical status. 

This reviewer has anxiously awaited, therefore, the arrival of the new 
Index to this lexicon, secretly hoping, in fact, that the 'computer Greek' 
might be done away with, and the Greek text placed in its stead, in accord 
with the greater status of BAGD. He was not disappointed. The Index to 
BAGD is in a pleasing typeface with a readable Greek type (including accents 
and breathing marks). As well, it has retained the features of the first Index 
mentioned earlier. 

A caution is in order, however, for the users of this Index. It is not 
designed to, nor can it, replace the lexicon itself. It should be used as a guide 
to BAGD, not as an independent tool. As well, since the interpretations/ 
definitions of terms in specific passages given in BAGD are not inerrant, the 
wise exegete would not simply adopt their view. Rather, he would examine 
the field of meaning the word can have in the NT when there could be any 
doubt about BAGD's definition of the term in a given context. But the Index 
to BAGD now renders inexcusable any exegete's lexical decision which 
overlooks this lexicon's judgment. Used as it was intended, Alsop's Index to 
BAGD cannot help but make better exegetes of us all. 

Daniel B. Wallace 



BOOKS RECEIVED 



ALING, CHARLES F. Egypt and Bible History. Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1981. Pp. 145. $5.95. Paper. 

AVIS, PAUL. The Church in the Theology of the Reformers. Atlanta: John 
Knox, 1981. Pp. 245. N.P. Paper. 

BAILEY, LLOYD. The Pentateuch. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981. Pp. 160. 
N.P. Paper. 

BAKER, ALVIN. Berkouwer's Doctrine of Election: Balance or Unbalance? 
New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1981. Pp. 204. 
$5.95. Paper. 

BALTZELL, KARIN B. and TERRY M. PARSLEY. Living Without Salt. 
Elgin, IL: The Brethren Press, 1982. Pp. 240. $7.95. Paper. 

BAXTER, RONALD E. Charismatic Gift of Tongues. Grand Rapids: 
Kregel, 1981. Pp. 142. $5.95. Paper. 

BENGEL, ALBERT. Bengel's New Testament Commentary. 2 Volumes. 
Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1981. Pp. 925, 980. $39.95. 

BIMSON, JOHN J. Redating the Exodus and the Conquest. Journal for the 
Study of the Old Testament, Supp. Series 5. Almond, 1981 [Distributed 
in North America by Eisenbrauns]. Pp. 288. $14.95. Paper. 

BOSCH, DAVID. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theo- 
logical Perspective. Atlanta: John Knox, 1981. Pp. 277. N.P. 

BRAGA, JAMES. How to Prepare BIBLE Messages, rev. ed. Portland: 
Multnomah, 1981. Pp. 257. N.P. Paper. 

BRAGA, JAMES. How to Study the BIBLE. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. 
Pp. 184. N.P. Paper. 

BRAY, GERALD LEWIS. Holiness and the Will of God: Perspectives on 
the Theology of Tertullian. Atlanta: John Knox, 1981. Pp. 179. N.P. 

BROMILEY, GEOFFREY W., ed. The International Standard Bible Ency- 
clopedia. Volume 2— E-J. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 1175. 
$35.00. 

BULLOCK, C. HASSELL. An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic 
Books. Chicago: Moody, 1979. Pp. 281. $14.95. 

CAIRNS, EARLE E. Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the 
Christian Church. Revised and Enlarged. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 
1981. Pp. 507. $19.95. 



302 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

CAMPBELL, RODERICK. Israel and the New Covenant. Phillipsburg, NJ: 
Presbyterian and Reformed, 1954; reprinted 1981. Pp. 350. $12.95. 

CARSON, D. A., ed. From Sabbath to Lord's Day. Grand Rapids: 
Zondervan, 1982. Pp. 444. N.P. Paper. 

CLOUSE, ROBERT G., ed. War: Four Christian Views. Downers Grove: 
InterVarsity, 1981. Pp. 210. $5.95. Paper. 

CRADDOCK, FRED B. The Gospels— Interpreting Biblical Texts. Nash- 
ville: Abingdon, 1981. Pp. 159. $6.95. Paper. 

EELLS, ROBERT and NYBERG, BARTELL. Lonely Walk: The Life of 
Senator Mark Hatfield. Portland: Multnomah, 1979. Pp. 201. 

FRIBERG, BARBARA and TIMOTHY, eds. Analytical Greek New Testa- 
ment. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. xvi + 854. $19.95. 

GAEBELEIN, FRANK E., ed. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Vol. 9, 
John-Acts. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 573. $19.95. 

GAEBELEIN, FRANK E., ed. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Vol. 12. 
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981. Pp. 603. $19.95. 

GEYER, ALAN. The Idea of Disarmament! Rethinking the Unthinkable. 
Elgin, IL: The Brethren Press, 1982. Pp. 256. $11.95. Paper. 

GIFFORD, EDWIN HAMILTON, trans. Eusebius' Preparation for the 
Gospel. Volumes 1 and 2. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 947. $24.95. 
Paper. 

GUTHRIE, DONALD. New Testament Theology. Downer's Grove: Inter- 
Varsity, 1981. Pp. 1064. $24.95. 

HATCH, NATHAN O., MARK A. NOLL, JOHN D. WOODBRIDGE. The 

Gospel in America. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979. Pp. 286. N.P. 

HOLLOWAY, RICHARD. Beyond Belief: The Christian Encounter with 
God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 164. N.P. 

HOLY BIBLE: The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 
1982. N.P. 

INCH, MORRIS A. and C. HASSEL BULLOCK, eds. The Literature and 
Meaning of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 303. $14.95. 

KIRK, ANDREW. Liberation Theology: An Evangelical View from the 
Third World. Atlanta: John Knox, 1981. Pp. 246. N.P. 

LANEY, CARL. The Divorce Myth: A Biblical Examination of Divorce and 
Remarriage. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1981. Pp. 152. N.P. 

LAWRENCE, JOHN W. Life's Choices: Discovering the Consequences of 
Sowing and Reaping. Portland: Multnomah, 1981. Pp. 130. Paper. 

LIFTIN, DUANE. Public Speaking— A Handbook for Christians. Grand 
Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981. Pp. 352. $9.95. Paper. 



BOOKS RECEIVED 303 

LLOYD-JONES, D. MARTYN. Christian Unity: An Exposition of Ephe- 
sians 4:1-16. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 277. N.P. 

LONG, BURKE O. Images of Man and God: Old Testament Short Stories in 
Literary Focus. Bible and Literature Series. Almond, 1981 [Distributed 
in North America by Eisenbrauns]. Pp. 127. $6.95. Paper. 

LYON, AUDLEY B. The Growing Life: A Daily Plan to Develop Your 
Spiritual Roots. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. Pp. 255. N.P. Paper. 

MARTENS, ELMER A. God's Design: A Focus on Old Testament The- 
ology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981. Pp. 271. $12.95. 

MAXWELL, WILLIAM D. A History of Christian Worship. Grand Rapids: 
Baker, 1936. Pp. 200. $7.95. Paper. 

McALPINE, CAMPBELL. Alone with God. Minneapolis: Bethany Fellow- 
ship, 1981. Pp. 184. $4.95. 

McDOWELL, JOSH. The Resurrection Factor. San Bernardino: Here's Life, 
1981. Pp. 190. $4.95. 

McGINNIS, KATHLEEN and JAMES. Parenting for Peace and Jesus. 
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1981. Pp. 143. $4.95. Paper. 

NIDA, EUGENE and WILLIAM REYBURN. Meaning Across Cultures. 
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1981. Pp. 90. $5.95. Paper. 

PALAU, LUIS. Heart After God: Running With David. Portland: Mult- 
nomah, 1981. Pp. 153. N.P. Paper. 

PALAU, LUIS. The Moment to Shout. Portland: Multnomah, 1981. 
Pp. 202. N.P. Paper. 

PAYNE, DAVID F. The Kingdoms of the Lord. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1981. Pp. 310. $13.95. 

PIXLEY, GEORGE V. God's Kingdom. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1981. Pp. xi 
+ 116. $5.95. Paper. 

SAWATSKY, WALTER. Soviet Evangelicals Since World War II. Scott- 
dale, PA: Herald, 1981. Pp. 527. $19.95. 

SEYBOLD, KLAUS and MUELLER ULRICH. Sickness and Healing. Bib- 
lical Encounter Series. Nashville: Abingdon, 1981, Pp. 205. Paper. 

SOULEN, RICHARD. Handbook of Biblical Criticism. Atlanta: John Knox, 
1981. Pp. 239. $9.95. Paper. 

STEUER, A. and J. McCLENDON. Is God God? Nashville: Abingdon, 
1981. Pp. 288. N.P. Paper. 

STOB, HENRY. Theological Reflections: Essays on Related Themes. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981. Pp. 267. $11.95. Paper. 

SWINDOLL, CHARLES R. Encourage Me. Portland: Multnomah, 1982. 
Pp. 86. $9.95 cloth, $4.95 paper. 



304 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL 

TOON, PETER. Evangelical Theology 1833-1856: A Response to Tractarian- 
ism. Atlanta: John Knox, 1981. Pp. 242. N.P. 

TRAVIS, STEPHEN. / Believe in the Second Coming of Jesus. Grand 
Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982. Pp. 252. N.P. Paper. 

WEBER, OTTO. Foundations of Dogmatics. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: Eerd- 
mans, 1981. Pp. 659. $27.00. 

ZEHR, PAUL M. God Dwells with His People. Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1981. 
Pp. 210. $7.95. Paper. 



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